In early of 2017 LKA Partners was hired by the Widefield School District to begin the process of gaining community acceptance for the idea of funding (through a November 2017 bond election) a new school. LKA began by facilitating a series of scoping / programming meetings with a community based planning team, called the Long Range Planning Group, in February of 2017. This group was composed of a broad based collection of community members, district staff, teachers and parents. They met six times prior to the bond election in November.
With LKA’s assistance, their charge was to determine the educational program requirements and associated square footage for a new PK8 school. Once the type and number of spaces, and their physical sizes were determined, this information was molded into a conceptual design for a new school. Using this information, LKA prepared a construction cost estimate, (and assisted the School district in formulating a Total Project Cost budget) for use in determining the amount of funds needed in the bond election.
After the successful bond election, LKA continued working with the Long Range Planning Group, various District technical committees, (mechanical, electrical, technology etc.) as well as staff and teacher user groups to refine the design and determine the buildings technical requirements.
The result was a two story School of approximately 113,000 sf containing spaces for Pre-School through 8th grade students. This new building (the first new school built in the District since the late 1990’s) will have a computer science emphasis with a focus on integrating technology into all major core content classes.
The building is divided into grade level wings. The preschool and Kindergarten wing is one story. The remaining classroom areas are contained in a two story wing. Grades 1 through 4 are on the ground level in two separate classroom pods. Second level pods contain grades 5 through 8. The Administrative Area, Library, Cafeteria, Gymnasium, Music and Art classrooms are on the main level, easily accessible to all classroom areas.
The owner’s intent, and the Design Team’s charge, for this project was to provide a school that is as efficient and comfortable as possible, within an achievable construction budget. Great care was taken to create a learning environment that will be safe, pedestrian friendly, easily accessible, and conducive to learning and creativity. Upon its completion in August of 2019, the PK-8 school has gained innovation status from the Colorado Department of Education, by weaving computer science and coding into all core subjects in all grades.