LOA Architecture was selected by Denver Public Schools as the winner in the competition for a new Stapleton High School in January of 2007.
“DPS is pleased with the way the Paul Sandoval Campus High School at Stapleton Northfield is being staffed and handled. There have been numerous challenges over the past two years and somehow the design team always seems to prevail. Please let your team know they are greatly appreciated in all of their efforts.”
Senior Project Manager, DPS Facility Management
To align with DPS’ 21st Century design principles, the team created flexible learning spaces. These environments include small and large classrooms, a variety of seating areas, and indoor/outdoor areas. The effort is to encourage more teacher/student interactions and focus on student creativity and inquiry.
Not only was this the first open campus high school for DPS, but it is also equipped with the latest technology. Bringing together nature and technology was key to the successful learning environment. There is a courtyard in the middle of the main classroom building with large windows and garage doors leading into the space, allowing for an open-feeling environment, and connecting the students to the outdoors.
The new high school breaks tradition by grouping buildings in a campus configuration, similar to a college environment. The quad is anchored on the west side by the two story small learning communities building (classroom location). On the east side is the gymnasium and cafeteria. On the north side will be the student commons (phase two of the campus) consisting of the performing arts facilities and the relocated cafeteria. In future phases, additional “small learning communities” will be built on the campus to provide additional classrooms.
The interior design of the school and its campus buildings intend to be flexible and transparent with a tie to the outside. The space evokes a feeling of a timeless, classic yet modern style with small punches of clean color. The exterior is highlighted by glazing that occur in rhythmic intervals to make the space feel open and transparent and to humanize the scale. The color and material selections are simplistic yet modern with a focus on durability and functionality. The goal for the interior design is to provide a mature atmosphere for students transitioning into higher education environments.
LOA Architecture’s research unveiled the need for large schools but the desire for a “small school culture.” To achieve this feeling, LOA created a design featuring the opportunity for students to identify with and belong to a community. DPS negotiated a partnership with Denver Parks and Recreation to allow the community has access to tennis, baseball, softball, and the multi-use field. This is consistent with DPS’ goal to involve the community within their facilities.