RICARDO FLORES MAGÓN ACADEMY
This BEST-funded K-8 facility offers a new home for Ricardo Flores Magón Academy (RFMA), a charter school just north of Denver’s Regis neighborhood.
After nearly a decade in outdated and inadequate facilities, the new building provides RFMA with a home worthy of its educational mission to inspire students to reach their highest social and academic potential. RFMA is consistently recognized and awarded for its educational results and community focus. Serving a largely Latinx student population, the charter school emphasizes the importance of cultural heritage, with the school’s Mexican revolutionary namesake, Ricardo Flores Magón, held up as an example of forging social change through intellect.
Working closely with parents, students, faculty, and community members, the resulting school design reflects Latinx cultural values with a focus on performance and gathering spaces. The facility’s expansive commons area and learning stair are rooted in the concept of the plaza mayor, the central community space found in most Latin American cities and villages. This plaza mayor, capped by clerestory windows that pull natural light into the heart of the building, connects to all other program spaces, including classrooms, gymnasium, and administrative areas. Latinx culture is also celebrated with color throughout the building, including red, blue, and yellow. The school will not only provide a new space for the young students to learn, it will also provide an updated facility for the teaching students from neighboring Regis University who will use this school as a student teaching location.
Due to site grading constraints, the new building was constructed a mere 10 feet away from the existing school building, which was occupied throughout construction. The proximity of the active site to the existing structure required the team to develop a careful and considered construction process. Shoring walls were erected and foundations for the new building were lowered so as not to undermine the structural integrity of either building during both the construction and demolition phases.
Along with the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant, the project received additional funding through Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) and Adams County Open Space (ACOS). The school will also be certified through the Collaborative for High Performing Schools (CHPS) program.
Planning, Design and Documentation, Construction Administration