Design Concepts to Design Landscapes for Nine Schools Funded
Colorado Department of Education's BEST Program
Among the nine school landscapes the landscape architects of Design Concepts are working on is the new Holly, Colo. PK-12 School. Holly is a farming town nine miles from the Colorado-Kansas border. The architect for the project is RTA Architects of Colorado Springs. The campus includes two playgrounds, outdoor classrooms next to the kindergarten and art rooms, a trail and a memorial walk. The school is scheduled to open in 2013.
Rendering design courtesy of Design Concepts
Design Concepts of Lafayette, Colo., announces it is the landscape architect and planning partner for nine high-profile school projects funded by the Colorado Department of Education's BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) program for capital school construction
BEST is a competitive grant program available to public school districts and other Colorado educational institutions. Since it was enacted in 2008, BEST has funded 147 projects in 94 Colorado school districts, with $674 million in grants awarded for construction needs, including new and renovated schools and campuses. Most grants are for rural schools built in the 1950s and through the 1970s, with problems such as substandard construction, deferred maintenance, asbestos, and wasteful energy systems. Many of the schools span preschool or kindergarten through grade 12, reflecting a trend toward consolidation of schools to achieve more efficient uses of resources
''BEST is a huge benefit for rural districts that could not have afforded new schools and site improvements any other way,'' explains Carol Henry, Design Concepts principal in charge of planning the landscapes for five of the nine school projects. The K-12 schools often double as community centers, and may provide the only safe playgrounds and parks for a rural community.
''Design Concepts has a good understanding of rural schools and working within a fixed budget,'' says Aimee LaLone, project manager for Wold Architects and Engineers in Denver. Wold is working with Design Concepts on the Idalia, Colo. K-12 School in which Design Concepts is planning a new prekindergarten playground with play equipment, a sand play pit and a courtyard appropriate for community events.
The landscapes and the architecture for the BEST schools are designed around energy and water efficiently. Water conservation is important because these schools are in areas with limited rainfall. All the projects have automated irrigation and native plants that require minimal irrigation.