Roots Charter Elementary School
Award of Merit

Owner: Roots Elementary
Lead Design Firm: OZ Architecture
General Contractor: Saunders Construction
Civil Engineer: Jansen Strawn Consulting Engineers (Ware Malcomb)
Structural Engineer: JVA Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: MEP Engineering Inc.

Roots Elementary is a new charter school in Denver’s Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. The $4.7-million, 22,000-sq-ft building can hold up to 300 students. Roots Elementary draws on best practices from high-performing schools around the country, including cutting-edge technology and an innovative use of time and space that puts students at the center of their education. The school was constructed around three large, open spaces known as Groves, where groups of students are reconfigured throughout the day, thus eliminating the constraints of traditional classroom teaching. It allows students to learn at their own pace, in a style that works best for them.

The school completes a community core area that also includes a library, a recreation center and a Boys & Girls Club. Collectively, it is known as the Holly Area Redevelopment Project, or HARP. The project was completed two days ahead of schedule. On the construction fence, a sign announcing the new school drew considerable attention from community members, who expressed gratitude that a new educational institution was being built in their neighborhood.

Related Article: Institutional Work Leads Field of 2017 Best Projects Winners