GH Phipps completes addition to McKinley-Thatcher elementary school

The addition includes six new classrooms.

GH Phipps recently completed the addition to McKinley- Thatcher Elementary school in Denver. The addition was designed by the Cuningham Group.

McKinley-Thatcher, which is part of Denver Public Schools, is located at 1230 S. Grant St. and now has six new classrooms, including a technology lab and art studio, a new gymnasium floor and outdoor learning spaces.

“The unique character of the existing building provided inspiration for the new addition,” said Gardner Clute, Cuningham Group associate. However, “it does not mimic the sloping exterior walls or stucco finish. The addition utilizes white brick to match the stucco and red brick to match existing brick.”

The addition contains six classrooms, one of which is an art room and another is a STEM lab, which the school calls a smart lab, into which it has incorporated the use of 3D printers.

There is a fenced art patio with tables and seating boulders off the art room.

One fifth-grade student described the impact of the technology lab by saying, “Last year, we didn’t get to do as much hands-on learning as we do this year. We get to work with drones, 3D printers and digital cameras. We work together more and help each other out and we don’t have a teacher, we just have a facilitator who helps us when we need help and tells us what to do so we can work together as students.”

Another fifth-grader described the new art studio: “It has a garage door that leads to an outdoor space and we make projects to put out there to decorate it. It has an impact on my creativity and learning because we have a much bigger room than last year so we have more storage, which means we have a lot more supplies available to us for our art.”

“We’ve been honored to have an outstanding relationship with the Denver Public Schools throughout the years and we take tremendous pleasure in seeing the excitement and anticipation in the kids’ faces,” said Reid Tankersley, GH Phipps project manager.

Published in the Nov. 6-19, 2019, issue of CREJ.

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…