New Vista High School

A community forward design with a net zero approach provides the New Vista community with a facility reflective of their non-traditional philosophy to learning.

Size
65,000 SF

Year
2021 (design competition)

Location
Boulder, CO

Cost
$30M

Client
Boulder Valley School District

The New Vista community had occupied an aging building that was unsuitable for their non-traditional educational philosophy. In the words of a parent of a New Vista Student, “A program that was all about thinking outside the box was put in a traditional school ‘box’.” The goals for the project and design competition were to meet the academic and cultural goals for the school within the published $30M budget. This team decided to not only target the District’s technical specification goals for new buildings to be designed for Net Zero but to do so within the assigned budget.

The New Vista educational approach relies upon a deeply invested school community, where personal relationships form the foundation of academic outcomes. Staff longevity and beloved leadership speak to tight-knit community where all are valued and appreciated allowing staff to form authentic connections with the students. The building responds to this culture by focusing on integrating places throughout the building for personal connection: collaboration spaces, small group areas, and one-on-one conversation nooks create a sense of intimacy and foster connections.

The heart of the building is nurturing and nourishing—the “Nest” is an organically sculpted place for the students and broader New Vista community to convene. It’s the cultural heart of the school, where all can gather formally or informally, in groups large and small. Surrounding the Nest are a series of resource-rich learning neighborhoods that respond to specific programmatic requirements. Neighborhoods are designed to promote variety over uniformity and create communities of diverse scales. This variety allows each student to plan their own experience while being nurtured by the larger cohort.

The reimagined New Vista, designed looking ahead to the next 100 years, can and should be a Net Zero project. It is an ambitious goal given the fixed $30M construction budget, a net-zero energy facility generates as much energy as it consumes. The site strategy and building diagram minimizes energy use and offsets this energy use with a significant rooftop photovoltaic array, providing Net Zero within the base project cost.

New Vista students are the future and the investment in a thoughtful and sustainable design reinforces the message that we care about the future, and the people who are that future.

The Building is designed with a focus on integrating places throughout the building for personal connection: collaboration spaces, small group areas, and one-on-one conversation nooks create a sense of intimacy and foster connections.

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