Roosevelt High School

Weld RE-5J
Architectural Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Planning, Programming
PK-12 Education
Johnstown, CO
Project type
New construction

A future-forward facility that places career pathways as a focus

Located in Johnstown, Colorado, Weld County School District RE-5J’s Roosevelt High School provides a Career & Technical Education-focused curriculum rooted within their local geography and economy. With career awareness and development as a core mission for the district, Career and Technical Education (CTE) is the primary teaching model integrated into new facilities.

With career concentration in mind, the district dreamed big about what the new Roosevelt High School could be. Together with the OAC committee, design advisory group members, users, students and Johnstown/Milliken communities, we helped the district develop the core values and goals for the project.

To build consensus and develop design intent with a large stakeholder group during COVID quarantine, we leveraged a robust design advisory group meeting schedule, live polling, school tours, 3D gaming walk-through technology, surveys, and student involvement.

Personalized, hands-on and career-focused learning environments spark curiosity

Tailored to meet the evolving needs of 21st century students, Roosevelt puts learning on display by featuring visual connections to CTE programs and integrating those spaces with the core curriculum classrooms. In the past, schools have typically been subject- or teacher-focused, but Roosevelt is centered around the student career development journey.

At Weld RE-5J, students are first introduced to career opportunities in elementary school and begin career exploration in middle school. Once they reach high school, they choose a career pathway concentration. This educational model requires a learning environment that supports the learning cycle of the student and prepares them for the real world.

In sync with the economic drivers of the Johnstown and Milliken communities, Roosevelt offers four distinct CTE pathways. Within these pathways are multiple career options. While many of the pathways allow students to graduate with certificates straight out of high school, they also don’t limit those who wish to attend a college or university.

The four career pathways at Roosevelt High School

Career pathways have been designed into four distinct zones within the school layout:

  • Health + Justice
  • Skilled Trades + Agriculture
  • Engineering + Technology
  • Hospitality + Business

Career clusters are arranged along a central community commons space, called “The Heart”—a space where students and teachers collaborate, share, connect, laugh, and nourish.

The learning environments also extend beyond the walls of the school. Through partnership with a local farming family, 240 acres surrounding the school will be developed into facilities that support Roosevelt’s CTE pathways. For example, health science students will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience working at an urgent care or skilled nursing facility located within the development. All of these partner facilities will be within safe walking distance, allowing students equitable opportunity to get hands-on experience.

Integrated learning through flexibility and transparency

For every space to become a learning opportunity, a natural flow and interaction between labs, community areas, learning studios and outdoor spaces is critical. At Roosevelt, Teachers have the flexibility to choose the best atmosphere for their current curriculum needs. The integrated CTE spaces and learning studios are visible from the community learning core area, which allows students to see their peers in action and gain awareness of various career paths. The goal is to expose students to as many opportunities for career interest development as possible before they graduate and enter the workforce.

The physical environment: industrial, grit, and backbone

These are the words used to describe the Johnstown and Milliken communities and ultimately, the look and feel envisioned for their new high school. The school design itself is used as a teaching tool. For example, the structure is exposed intentionally to allow the engineering students to observe how their school is structured.

“The Heart,” showcases the CTE pathways front and center. Flexible and adaptable spaces, high utilization, and community support are key design drivers in the shared community programs and amenities.

Community involvement

Schools are often the anchor of their communities — and double as a space for the community to gather. In Roosevelt’s case, the school also reaches out into the community.

Roosevelt High School will occupy 65 acres of a 240-acre masterplan. The goal is to build the high school as the anchor for the masterplan, guiding future developments to support the high school’s career pathways. In tandem with the four pathways, the district will have partnerships with businesses such as parks & recreation, urgent care, hotel, senior assisted living community and much more. The community buy-in for such an endeavor has been integral to making this dream a reality.

Smaller districts aren’t able to offer as many CTE programs as large metro districts. The big challenge the community faced was looking at their current and future economic state and identifying which CTE programs would be the most relevant to their students and the Johnstown and Milliken Communities. Choosing the right programs for their community will have a large impact on the growth of their towns and help them become a draw, known for their specialties, rather than keeping up with capacity and maintenance demands.


  • 2021 Rockies Award, Association for Learning Environments
  • 2021 Outstanding Project Award, Learning By Design Magazine
  • 2024 Regional Project Distinction Award, Design-Build Institute of America

Project contact

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