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Cherry Creek Career and Innovation Academy Campus entrance, a red panel building with long sign and canopy over glass entry
Cherry Creek Career and Innovation Academy

Innovation Campus Designed for Career Exploration

Client

Cherry Creek School District 5

Project Location

Centennial, CO

Area

117,000 SF

Students

1,100

Cherry Creek School District has begun to implement innovation throughout all grade levels of its schools, starting with the new Cherry Creek Innovation Campus and a focus on enhanced career-based programs for students to explore, experiment, and celebrate pathways of learning in preparation for college and career. Eleventh- and 12th-graders have learning spaces that delve into career development such as business/marketing, STEAM/IT, advanced manufacturing, health sciences, culinary/hospitality, infrastructure engineering, and transportation/logistics.

These program strands will complement and extend current CTE programs within the existing CCSD high school network. Our design creates various learning environments and social spaces from traditional classrooms for instruction, to more intense lab environments that provide hands-on areas for project-based curriculum. High-bay labs provide flexible learning spaces for experimentation and exploration, some with direct access to sheltered outdoor work areas. The ‘i-commons’ at the heart of the campus is a place for intentional collisions and synergy between interdisciplinary interactions, industry partners, and specific programs. Additional i-commons flex spaces are dispersed throughout the facility to promote strategic interaction and encourage collaboration.

Innovation

Cherry Creek School District in Colorado made a bold commitment to elevate and diversify its educational approach and prepare students differently for the workforce they’ll enter by placing greater emphasis on innovation, critical thinking skills, and advanced career-based programs. The Innovation Campus supports learners at all levels. Students who plan to attend college can take dual enrollment courses to earn credit toward a degree. Those who prefer to enter the workforce or military immediately can learn skills or trades that help prepare them for their careers.

01
Flexibility

Specialty Spaces

Our design for the 117,000-SF CCIC comprises a variety of learning environments and social spaces from traditional classrooms for instruction, to more intense labs that provide hands-on areas for a project-based curriculum. Industry-specific spaces support real-world training or trade certification programs, and high-bay labs provide flexible spaces for experimentation and exploration. The high-bay labs for infrastructure, aviation, and transportation logistics have direct access to sheltered work areas for opportunities to explore in authentic outdoor environments.

View from 2nd floor balcony overlooking seating and glass entrance to double height auto industry and mechanic specific lab

Our design provides a flexible and adaptable environment that will evolve as future careers and the demands of the Colorado workforce evolve.

Black reception desk in wood panel recessed room off hallway with photo mural of Martin Luther King Jr. with quote overlaid

Today’s students need hands-on learning opportunities that allow them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills they will use in future careers.

02
Collaboration

Business Partnerships

Cherry Creek School District officials aligned their focus with the Colorado Workforce Development Council and Colorado’s Career Clusters to identify seven career pathways, including advanced manufacturing; business services; culinary/hospitality; health services; infrastructure engineering; IT/STEAM; and transportation. By collaborating with industry partners, the needs of each career pathway were clearly defined and ensured critical design parameters with special space requirements such as access, loading on floors, furniture and fixtures, and equipment needs were appropriately defined.

Culinary kitchen classroom with stainless steel island and red tile back wall. Stoves on left wall, refrigerators to right

We designed various learning environments from traditional classrooms, to more specialized environments for hands-on, project-based curriculum.

Classroom with cardio equipment to left wall facing mirror. Floor to ceiling windows, back, to hallway. Padded bench, center

Health services is one of seven career pathways with specially designed learning environments.

03
Synergy

Intentional Collisions

An “i-commons” at the heart of the campus encourages intentional collisions and synergy among industry partners and career-based programs circulating between break-out areas and learning labs. Transparency throughout the campus is reinforced through the use of glazing for visual accessibility into learning spaces, and to encourage interaction among the different pathways. The i-commons is further activated by the adjacent cafe/culinary program and main learning stair, which connects the two levels of the facility.

Seating area in double height room with natural lighting. 2nd floor walkway to back extends over entrance to classroom

The heart of the campus is designed to encourage connection among industry partners and students circulating between break-out areas and learning labs.

Mural on right wall next to stairs to 2nd floor. Red wall to left with white recession with seating by classroom windows

Transparency throughout the campus is reinforced through the use of glazing for visual accessibility into learning spaces.

04
Opportunity

Embracing the Site and Slope

CCIC is nestled on 40 acres in Dove Valley, in the central core of the district. Bound by two main thoroughfares, the site slopes dramatically to a low point that runs north-south at the center of the site. Rather than shying away from the slope, we embraced the opportunity to frame a unique building with a unique roofline. The design follows the topographic lines along the north-south axis and features contrasting roof lines that step down the slope, forming an iconic structure the community will recognize and celebrate for generations to come.

Stone building with textured red wrap facade illuminated from within in evening. Garage door opened at center to airplanes

The campus follows the topographic lines along the north-south axis of the site.

In the Media
Classroom with students on computers at rows of wood tables. Equipment and power cords hang from the ceiling of white room

A Changing Workforce Demands Change in Education

DLR Group Senior Principal Pam Loeffelman, FAIA, pens an article for spaces4learning on the new Cherry Creek Innovation Campus and its curriculum rooted in real-world skills and trade certifications.

Spaces4learning Changing Workforce Education
The Latest
Cherry Creek Career and Innovation Academy Campus entrance, a red panel building with long sign and canopy over glass entry
Innovation Campus Designed for Career Exploration Centennial, CO
firm-news

New Cherry Creek Innovation Campus Opens in Colorado

August 1, 2021

DLR Group designs college and career preparedness facility offering pathways identified with the Colorado Workforce Development to support the local and regional economy.

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Awards

2019 People's Choice Award

A4LE Rocky Mountain Chapter Design Awards

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