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Gottlieb Building Renovation, The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

Colorado Springs, CO

"We are so glad we selected RTA. They have met with us and worked with us beyond what we expected and listened to us and come up with a great plan that we are very excited about.”

Carol Hilty, Former Superintendent


Connecting through experience of place.

The Gottlieb Building houses the School for the Deaf on the campus of Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) in Colorado Springs, CO. The school design specifically addresses the special needs of this student population, including the concepts of “deaf space” and 21st Century learning environments.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

RTA worked in close collaboration with CSDB to develop design concepts that supported their specific educational methods. Utilizing interpreters, RTA conducted design charrettes that included administrators, deaf staff, hearing staff, students, and Board of Education representatives.


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

The Gottlieb building houses K-12 students from around the state of Colorado who qualify as deaf or hard of hearing. The spaces are specifically designed for them; an open interior design for better visibility and communication, flexible spaces for multipurpose use, and round outdoor spaces to promote ease of visual conversation and signing. The new addition was designed with long sight lines for students to be able to see everything going on around them as well as for improved passive supervision by staff. This project offered some unique design challenges that were successfully navigated throughout the design process. Materiality and visibility allowed what used to be the exterior of a historic building to become part of the interior “fabric”, including stone walls which provided a great foundation for the new high performance spaces. The school has been transformed from a dated institutional building into an inviting 21st century learning environment. The building is finished and furnished in a manner that inspires pride in the education process. The 28,862-square-foot renovation and 9,289-square-foot addition sits on the campus of Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

Project Details

  • Square footage: 38,162 sf
    • New: 9,289 sf
    • Renovation: 28,862 sf

Design Details

  • Daylighting
  • LEED-enhanced acoustics
  • 21st Century Learning Spaces
  • Energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems
  • State of the art media center
  • New science lab
  • Distance learning classroom
  • Outdoor classroom
  • Enhanced passive supervision


  • 2012 Honor Award, AIA Colorado South Chapter
  • 2011 Summit Design Merit Award for Renovation, CEFPI
  • 2011 Award of Excellence, Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs
  • LEED Silver Certification
  • Sustainable Sites, Energy and Atmosphere, Material and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design and Regional Priority Credits