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  • Chrysalis Alternative School Renovation Project

    Taos, NM
    General Contractor and Builder, Renovations and improvements to an historic adobe building serving as a  school

    Completed in September, 2011, this project addressed the renovation and modernization of a deteriorating and functionally obsolete 1940’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) era building occupied by the Chrysalis Alternative School.  Historically significant to the small community of Cañon near Taos, New Mexico, the building was originally built as a 4-room adobe schoolhouse, and expanded over the years to its current configuration of classrooms, offices, and kitchen/cafeteria.  Most long-time Cañon adult residents attended elementary school in this building, and in the 1960’s, it served as a Head Start school in the village.   Funded primarily from a 2008 Taos Municipal School District General Obligation Bond, this project included the following improvements:  complete renovation of all restrooms, and inclusion of a handicap-accessible restroom; modernization, renovation and improvement of the kitchen/dining area; replacement of front and rear entry doors, and replacement of many out-of-date exterior windows to improve energy efficiency and safety.  Chrysalis Alternative School (CAS) serves the academic, emotional and life-skills needs of at-risk students who have reached the limits of the capabilities of the public schools in the Taos Municipal School District (TMSD).  The School’s goal for this renovation was to create a modern, stimulating, efficient, safe and accessible environment for the students and staff; a facility that would allow staff to teach students traditional subjects as well as life skills cooking, nutrition, and culinary arts classes, and providing produce for the kitchen from the gardens and greenhouses the students maintain through an agricultural learning project directed by the school’s science teacher.  WRGC’s focus was to produce results that would allow the School to accomplish these educational goals, while maintaining the historic look and feel of the building.  Challenges were many, but both sets of goals were achieved.  The following photographs provide both before and after views of the renovations.

    Kitchen space after demolition. Note wall and floor deterioration.

    Bright, modern, functional new kitchen for preparing and serving meals

    Bright, modern easily maintable space for meals and assembly for students and staff alike

    Original front entry door – peeling, inefficient, and not particularly welcoming

    New front door provides security, energy efficiency, allows light into interior, and a warm welcome.