Modern Update Boosts Century-Old Colorado High School

By Eric Althoff

MANZANOLA, Colo.—A historic high school building in the southeast of the Centennial State has been given a 21st century facelift. The Manzanola Junior/Senior High School—built in 1925 according to designs by noted Colorado architect Temple Buell—has undergone renovations to its older structures as well as the addition of more educational space to accommodate increasing enrollment.

Furthermore, the century-old school building featured rather antiquated climate control, and was also in need of asbestos remediation and various repairs throughout. The Manzanola School District 3J was able to secure $31 million from a BEST grant in 2019 in order to fund the upgrades.

Colorado’s own Wold Architects and Engineers was hired to redesign Manzanola, and their plans were realized jointly by Nunn Construction and Vanir Construction Management. Part of the architectural redesign by Wold entailed reconfiguring the school around a two-story media center, which served as the proverbial heart of the school. Accordingly, learning spaces were configured to emanate out from that central location along two wings—which simultaneously respected Buell’s initial vision for the school.

The reimagined campus now boasts a “learning courtyard” as well as modern facilities for administrative use, physical education and science classes.

“As a local firm, we are honored to work with the Manzanola School District to revitalize its new community campus and honor the original structure designed by Buell,” Josh Grenier, principal at Wold Architects and Engineers, said in a recent statement. “This campus supports a diverse student population that deserves a safe, enriching learning environment, and we are proud to play a role in bringing this important facility to life.”

Added Nancy Westfall, Manzanola School District 3J Superintendent, “We have such a bright and deserving student population and couldn’t be more excited for them to experience the new community campus. These reimagined spaces provide a collaborative learning environment and a safe, secure facility that honors our rural community’s long, rich history.”

In addition to its offices in Colorado, Wold operates from locations in Tennessee, Illinois and Minnesota. The 2021 Building Design + Construction Giants 400 Report ranked the company number 6 on its annual national list of top architecture-engineering firms.