Boulder Valley School District’s Emerald Elementary School was selected to be one of the District’s “Exemplar School” projects designed to support a new way of learning. By District design, RB+B partnered with Fielding Nair International who also led Professional Development Work Sessions with the Districts’ teachers to discuss how to fully utilize the new “Exemplar School” buildings to teach more effectively. The facility deliberately encourages more collaborative, student-centered, project-based activity. This project replaces the existing Emerald Elementary School while keeping the existing building in operation. A recent gymnasium addition was retained and incorporated into the new school to reduce construction costs and environmental impacts.
CLIENT: Boulder Valley School District
SCOPE: 58,000 Square Feet
COST: $18.7 Million
Inside the building, a central gathering space traditionally called a 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 a key component of the design.
Outdoor learning areas including an amphitheater and vegetable garden as well as age appropriate outdoor play areas.
While not seeking LEED Certification, the project is designed to meet LEED Certification Requirements and is Net Zero Ready – meaning it is ultra-efficient and is capable of becoming net zero in the future. The building is one of the higher performing new BVSD Exemplar Schools with energy usage targeted at around 30 kBTU/sf/yr. Natural daylighting is used throughout.
In collaboration with Fielding Nair International.