RB+B Architects, in collaboration with Fielding Nair International, is pleased to announce that Boulder Valley School District’s Emerald Elementary School has been named a Peak Design Award winner from the Rocky Mountain Chapter Association 4 Learning Environments (A4LE). The project is one of BVSD’s Exemplar Schools that employs a new way of teaching and 21st Century design. The project is also net-zero ready and targeted to operate at just 30 kBTU/sf/yr. Swinerton Builders enabled the building come to life.

The Rocky Mountain Chapter A4LE awards recognize excellence in four areas of educational design: planning process, physical environment, learning environment, and community connection. The new Emerald Elementary replaces the existing building on the same site and was built while the site remained operational. The facility deliberately encourages more collaborative, student-centered, project-based activity. 

Many traditional areas of a school were reimagined at Emerald. Inside the building, a central gathering space that would once have served as the media center is redefined as the Curiosity Center to better reflect its use as a place for gathering, research, discovery and project creation. Collaborative learning and project areas are associated with groups of three to five classrooms and teacher collaboration and planning areas are located throughout. The preschool and kindergarten wing has a common teaching/reading area. Transparency between learning areas and the outdoors was also a key component of the design.

The 56,000-square-foot building cost roughly $18.7 million. More details on the project can be found here.