RTA Architects designs success

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rta-1713RTA Architects, a leading Colorado Springs architecture, interiors, and planning firm, is located in the renovated Hibbard & Co. building in downtown Colorado Springs. Thirty-four employees and principals make up a diverse pool of architects, architectural interns, designers and technical support staff. In addition to its core strength of architectural design for new construction, renovation, and adaptive re-use projects, RTA provides technical expertise in a broad range of related services.

RTA has specialized in health care and education projects. Both markets are changing, offering interesting challenges.

“We’re looking at health care projects moving out into the community,” said RTA Principal Stuart Coppedge. “So you see retail buildings being repurposed for health care purposes. And if you look at D-11, they’re moving out of buildings, not building new ones. Projects such as Ivywild School are really interesting, and we’re actively seeking these kinds of opportunities.”

Recent local projects include the University Village Colorado Shopping Center on North Nevada and the total renovation of a building on the historic campus of the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.

Currently, the firm is partnering with SmithGroup JJR in an estimated $60 million renovation and addition project for Craig Hospital in Denver. Craig Hospital is a long-term acute care and rehabilitation hospital specializing in the neuro-rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Key design elements will include healing, low-stimulus patient environments created through acoustical control, environmental system control, lighting design and daylighting.

Construction is the lifeblood of architectural firms, which are disproportionately affected by transient economic conditions. When the Great Recession took hold, RTA suffered.

“It was brutal for architects,” Coppedge said. “Nationwide, the unemployment rate for architects was something like 45 percent — in Las Vegas it was close to 70 percent. We shrunk quite a bit, but now we’re at what we consider to be our ideal size — around 30 to 35 people.”

The regional market has strengthened, and the local market has improved slightly. And if the City for Champions projects secure local public and private funding this year, RTA is well positioned to benefit.

“There hasn’t been much going on [locally],” said Coppedge. “We’d love to do more work in our own backyard. City for Champions will be huge — we all hope that the local design and architectural community will be involved. We’re all invested in this city, and we’re all going to stay here.”


RTA Architects

19 S. Tejon St., Suite 300

Founded: 1975

Employees: 34