Thunder Vista is Ready for Students
If you go
What: Thunder Vista Open House
When: Aug. 4. Tours from 3 to 4 p.m.; food trucks and socializing with staff from 4 to 6 p.m.
Where: Thunder Vista P-8, 3461 Preble Creek Parkway
More info: Visit thundervista.adams12.org
Metal buffaloes that overlook the Anthem Highlands neighborhood in Broomfield soon will be joined by students whose mascot bears the same name.
Construction crews have put finishing touches on the exterior and interior of Thunder Vista P-8 — Broomfield’s newest school since Meridian Elementary School opened in 2004.
Crews with Adolfson & Peterson Construction have worked on the three-story, 144,000 square-foot campus since April 19, 2017 when school officials and students broke ground at the site, which is north of Preble Creek Parkway and east of Lowell Boulevard.
“Families have wanted to see inside since December,” Kevin Denke of Adams 12 Five Star Schools, said Tuesday.
For a week before the building’s “topping out” ceremony in December — where the final steel beam was put in place — families were invited to sign their names and write personal messages on the 30-foot beam.
Thunder Vista was built in part to relieve crowded classrooms at Meridian, Coyote Ridge and Rocky Top elementary schools — some of the most crowded campuses in Adams 12 Five Star School District. School officials have been waiting years for the Anthem school to be built so they can phase-out mobile classrooms that were added to address overcrowding.
As of Monday, 566 students had enrolled at Thunder Vista, which has 52 classrooms, Denke said. That number is expected to grow as the school year approaches. The school will have four pre-kindergarten classes that can accommodate eight half-day sessions.
Planning Manager Matt Schaefer said the district already can see the impact of Thunder Vista enrollment.
Coyote Ridge will be “relieved” of 70 students; Meridian of 175, and Rocky Top of 130 students.
“Those are kids who would have gone to the schools if it were not for the boundary change,” Schaefer said.
Last year at this time, Coyote Ridge had enrolled 527 students; this year that number 454. Enrollment at Meridian last year was 796 and this year that has dropped to 618.
Rocky Top had 1,327 students enrolled last year in mid-July, and currently has 1,162 students enrolled.
Schaefer said the plan all along was to leave mobile units in place this summer and remove them summer 2019. Mobile units will stay at Rocky Top longer because of four new housing subdivisions, which will include about 1,500 housing units, being developed over the next five to seven years in Thornton.
A future bond proposal likely will include something similar to Thunder Vista being built in that area where the district already owns land.
Just because enrollment at the schools has gone down does not mean class sizes will be smaller, Schaefer said. Adams 12 has tried to maintain classroom size around 25 students across the district, with the exception of some large class sizes.
Thunder Vista has a “learning stair” that connects the cafeteria to the main level of the school as well as an open library concept that concludes an upper level area for middle school students.
Construction crews are expected to continue to do “touch up” work after school starts Aug. 15, Principal Teresa Benallo said, which largely will take place when students are not on campus.
Maximum capacity is 900 students from kindergarten through eighth grade, and 128 pre-school students, she said. Behind the campus sit basketball courts, a playground, and outdoor classroom.
Inside, brick and metal panels are seen throughout the building along with “natural” colors that reflect the Anthem neighborhood — shades of green, deep red and dark blues.
Construction of the new school, along with district-wide facility improvements, was made possible when voters passed a $350 million bond in November 2016. It was the first time a bond passed for Adams 12 since 2004.
Two major projects that stemmed from the bond were the Anthem school and a partial tear-down and rebuild of a STEM lab.
Benallo, a former principal at Leroy Elementary School in Northglenn, was chosen as principal in March 2017 after a month-long search that drew more than 30 applicants. Since then, she has been meeting local families and familiarizing herself with the neighborhood.
So far, 40 teachers have been hired, she said. Staff also will include two administrators and 22 classified staff when school opens.
The building has a vestibule its front entrance, which will be manned by an administrator during school hours, where parents will be able to drop off their child’s backpack or other items without having to sign in through the Raptor visitor screening system.
Classroom technology includes short-throw interactive projectors and whiteboards and TopCat in-classroom audio systems.
The school, which sits on a 13-acre site at 3461 Preble Creek Parkway, was designed to be certified as part of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools Verified Leader program. The goal of a CHPS school is to fundamentally change the design, construction and operation of schools to protect student and staff health, enhance the learning environments of children, conserve energy, water and other natural resources and reduce waste and pollution.
The campus features 72 geothermal heating and cooling wells. Geothermal heating uses an underground piping system to circulate water between the school, a ground source heat pump and the earth to provide heating, cooling and hot water at high efficiencies.
Adams 12 school district budgeted $46.8 million for design and construction costs, as well as inflation contingencies and furniture, fixtures and equipment.
On Dec. 1, the district sold the first set of bonds to fund construction — a $285 million sale that will pay for the first phase of the bond program, district officials said. The remaining $65 million will be sold in the next two-to three-years.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios