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Students partner with architect to help design new Renaissance Secondary School

Children and parents dig dirt out of a wheelbarrow

Submitted by parent Tara Ricciardi

CASTLE ROCK- Renaissance Secondary School has broken ground on its facility serving grades 7-10, planned to open in August 2017. As a first step in planning the design of the building, students, teachers and community members had the opportunity to speak with architect Peter Ewers and provide input on a design that reflects the school’s strong culture of active participation and collaboration through shared, flexible spaces.

Collaborating on the design of the building is a natural outgrowth of the Renaissance Secondary model, where teachers and students will be designers not only of their physical environment, but also of interdisciplinary learning experiences where there will be a focus on developing critical, creative, and reflective thinking skills to solve complex problems.

Students presenting with a diagram of a building design for parents and community members“Working with the architect gave me a really good idea of what the culture of the school would be like. Where my input would be considered. To hear that the architect took some of our ideas seriously was pretty incredible,” commented seventh grade student, Nico Trettel.

The benefits of a connection to nature and the outdoors are offered through the open courtyard and exterior walkways, as well as the outdoor climbing wall, which represents and supports the school’s Adventure Education program. The Renaissance commitment to sustainability is seen in high efficiency heating, cooling, and lighting as well as recycling and composting. Students and the school’s governing board are excited about one particularly unique element in the school’s design, an element taken from the students’ brainstorming session— a slide connecting the second story to the ground level.

The facility’s builder, JHL Constructors, was selected not only as a result their considerable experience building charter schools in Colorado, but also because of their enthusiasm for involving students in the construction process. They hope to help students discover and explore their interests, be they in construction or other related disciplines, from design to marketing to mathematics or finance. “The overall umbrella is construction, but the possibilities are really quite endless,” noted Brad Schmall, Vice President at JHL.

Renaissance Secondary School will add a grade each year until 2019 when it will be at full capacity with grades 7-12. For more information about Renaissance, visit

MORE: Watch the Renaissance Secondary School Groundbreaking:

December 6, 2016 | By CSilberman | Category: Renaissance Secondary, Choice Programming

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