Alta Vista Charter School Receives National Recognition for Sustainable Design

Denver, CO (June 7, 2012) – SLATERPAULL Architects and JHL Constructors, Inc. announce that Alta Vista Charter School (AVCS) in Lamar, Colorado has been named as the first project in the state to attain the Verified Leader certification by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) as a healthy, high performance, green school. CHPS is a national organization dedicated to optimizing K-12 learning environments and improving student performance and the entire educational experience by building the best possible schools. Similar to LEED, CHPS provides a regional focus for sustainability efforts.

Designed by SLATERPAULL Architects and constructed by JHL Constructors, AVCS is a K-6 charter school in southeast Colorado. The CHPS-certified project includes a 23,000-square-foot building addition and renovation of the original 1917 schoolhouse to create a high performance environment for students, teachers and faculty. The school received a grant from the Colorado Department of Education’s Building Excellent School’s Today (BEST) program and additional funding from the Gates Family Foundation.

“This is a great honor for our firm and a terrific example of how a high performance learning environment can be created in the renovation of an historic building with an addition that supports the educational goals of the school,” says Adele Willson, AIA, LEED AP, partner of SLATERPAULL Architects.

The high performance design features at AVCS will reduce energy consumption by 54 percent with significant savings to this school, as compared to an average school. A high performance envelope coupled with a geo-exchange ground source loop heating and cooling system helped achieve this savings. In addition, to lower operational costs the school has utilized exceptional daylighting strategies, which not only allows for lights to be turned off during the day and significant energy savings, but helps create a healthy learning environment fostering increased student productivity and higher test scores. Rapidly renewable and recycled content materials were used throughout the building and during construction and over 70 percent of the construction waste was recycled or reused within the community. Unique to CHPS, the team also employed the Flex Energy Tool to consider energy strategies for the future.

Alta Vista is a charter school which has had an average enrollment of 120 students, K-6. The new expansion, which was completed last summer, allows the school to go to its full capacity of 140 students, with ample space for each child.

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