Fossil Ridge High School

As the first LEED Silver Certified High School in Colorado, Fossil Ridge is designed to serve three learning communities of 600 students each. Each learning community has separate administration, student work areas, computer labs and student locker areas. Core subjects are taught within the communities. Special subjects are separate.


LOCATION: Fort Collins, CO
CLIENT: Poudre School District
SCOPE: 296,375 Square Feet
COST: $38.5 Million

The locker areas of the three learning communities are all open to an exterior central courtyard.  This central courtyard fulfilled the design team’s goal of creating a “sense of place” within the core area of the building.  It also allowed significant additional daylighting of classrooms.

The south half of the school features the amply day-lit commons/ dining area as a gateway to Gym & Wellness to the east and Visual & Performing Arts to the west.  By carefully addressing exiting, all three major areas can have separate functions occur simultaneously, with each area cordoned off from the other.

Educational Programming for this project was completed by ATS&R.

Sustainable Features

The School District challenged RB+B to design most of the core classrooms with 100% natural light. In order to achieve optimum daylighting, the design necessitated an East-West orientation, thus orienting the day-lit side of classrooms to have a North or South primary exposure. Numerous heating and cooling strategies were explored, including making ice at night during off-peak hours for cooling during the day.  Numerous heat recovery systems were also explored. All strategies were modeled with the DOE-2 Energy Model.

A super insulated envelope, high efficiency boilers with heat recovery wheels, and high performance glazing, daylighting, dimming systems, and occupancy sensors all contribute to the building’s energy efficiency. Photovoltaic paneled canopies add visual interest while providing an alternative source of energy.

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