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Al Meiklejohn Elementary School (AMES)

The Jefferson County School District had a simple goal: They needed to construct the largest elementary school ever built in their district in record time. When Saunders Construction, which had previously built a Tilt-Up charter school in the same district, came onto the project, the schedule was already tight—but it was made even more so by the decision to use a structural floor over a crawlspace instead of the previously designated slab-on-grade.

An even more concerning issue was the team had already designed into the project interior Tilt-Up walls. In fact, there is not a steel column anywhere in the building.

This choice of a structural floor added nearly seven weeks of design and construction to the project, while the project completion date remained the same. Saunders met the expedited schedule by phasing the panel design and construction to reflect the building’s four quadrants, while design proceeded on the rest of the structure. The new floor style also required 70,000 square feet of casting bed to be erected around the building for panel forming.

The fastest-designed ground-up school ever constructed in the district, the 68,000-square-foot Al Meiklejohn Elementary was built in just ten months and features a host of inviting features, including letters, numbers and musical notes formed from foam cutouts and recessed into the panels, as well as a front entry canopy decorated with laser-cut perforated metal panels shaped like stars, suns and moons.

Main banner image for Al Meiklejohn Elementary School (AMES)

Project Location

Arvada, CO 80005
United States

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Kopf Consulting Group Inc
Meadow Burke
Meadow Burke
Scott System, Inc.
HD Supply Construction & Industrial White Cap

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
Number of Floors:
Total Floor Area:
68,000 sq ft (6,317 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
35 ft 8 in (10.87 m)
Largest Panel:
1,149 sq ft (106.7 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
103,000 lbs (46,720 kg)