Fort Morgan School Building Repurpose

Date: 12/1/2015 - 4/1/2016
Principal Researchers:


Location: Fort Morgan, CO

This project studied the redevelopment potential of a soon to be abandoned historic school building in Fort Morgan. The building has housed students since the early 1920s and was seen as important to the character and vitality of the city. With the construction of a new school building the School Board wanted to know what options were available for the old building and what those options might cost. Additionally they wanted to know what configuration the future building ownership might entail.

The project started with a two-day charrette bringing the student to the facility to study the architecture of the building and to interview the variety of local citizen groups that might have an interest in using the building as it is redeveloped. The building housed several very useful amenities. Mainly a 750 seat auditorium and stage, a full ball court with seating and locker rooms, and a working commercial kitchen. Added to this was a full site that was used for play fields. Many of the existing building features were not seen as useful.

Local input recognized the ability to expand the arts and theater programs within the community, continue to offer recreational use of the gym and to potentially offer office space for non-profit organizations within the community. Local minority groups expressed interest in a one-stop location for community services. Senior groups expressed interest in potential housing and services within the building. Additional housing was an often expressed need.

Designs explored senior housing units with roof-top gardens and full kitchen-dining offerings, the theater auditorium produced designs that expanded the artist center to include practice rooms, administration, and possibly visiting artist suites. Artist galleries were also included in these options. One option offered expanded professional offices that could be leased to non-profits or other city offices.

Designs were finalized and illustrated and presented at a final local workshop within the school cafeteria. With over 120 local citizens attending the students were able to present their design ideas and gain further information to share with the School Board. Local feedback was positive, supportive and encouraging for the Board to seek other financing/ ownership options.

Designs and illustrations provided helped the School Board gain local community support for protecting the building and provided a solid sales tool for the Board to approach a variety of local and state-wide financial partners.

Project Team: Jonathan Wright, Meenon Kastoori, Nikhila Ramineedi, Carrie Cardona, Heather Murphy, Mike Tupa (Project Coordinator)

Local Participants: Morgan R3 School Board SubCommittee, Morgan County Economic Development Coordinator, Morgan Community College CEO.

DOLA Regional Manager: Greg Etl

Colorado Center for Community Development

CU Denver

CU Denver Building

1250 14th Street


Denver, CO 80202


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