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Sunset Park Elementary School and Franklin School of Innovation

Pueblo, Colorado


Connecting through experience of place.

After being awarded two Colorado Department of Education BEST Grants, Pueblo School District 60 retained the joint venture of RTA and MOA to design the replacement of two existing elementary schools: The Sunset Park Elementary School and the Franklin School of Innovation. The schools were built on park sites during the 1960s modernist movement, and their conditions had deteriorated to the point that replacement schools were needed.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

RTA and MOA worked with education planning leader BrainSpaces and nearly 50 highly-engaged District leadership, staff, and parents from both schools to facilitate virtual User Group sessions and Design Advisory Group meetings to develop a vision and goals for both schools. A virtual Town Hall was also held to gain feedback from the community.

Primary goals for both projects included: a prototype design for design, cost, and site placement efficiencies; equity for each neighborhood and community; and interior concepts and exterior finishes unique to each school.


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

The floor plan for each school is identical but flipped to best fit each site. The interior concepts will offer 21st-century learning environments unique to each school to ensure that each school will have its own recognizable identity.

The Discovery Area, at the center of each building, serves as the hub for each school and includes areas for Collaboration, Literacy, and a Maker Space. The Gym is a combination of a traditional gymnasium and a performance space. The stage will be connected to the music room and feature folding panel partitions, allowing it to be separated from the Gym or to enlarge the music room when needed.

Each school will feature new playgrounds, improved drop-off areas for parents and buses, a walking loop around the playfield for community use, and outdoor classrooms. The outdoor classrooms are designed around Colorado’s biomes to encourage students to learn about the features of Colorado’s unique habitats.

franklin school of innovation discovery area

Project Details

Size: 55,600 sf (each)

Cost: $23.6M (each)

Design Details

  • Prototype designs
  • Interior concepts unique to each school
  • Pursuing CHPS certification
  • BEST Grant projects
  • 21st Century learning environments
  • Flexible collaboration spaces and furnishings
  • Combination gymnasium and performance space
  • Walking paths to encourage community useImproved drop-off and circulation
  • Outdoor learning spaces
  • Phased construction adjacent to occupied school