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Boulder planning officials to weigh in New Vista High School replacement

BOULDER — The Boulder Valley School District has hired a contractor to build the new and expanded New Vista High School, and the Boulder Planning Board is set to review the district’s construction plans on Tuesday with an eye toward groundbreaking later this summer. 

BVSD’s plans, according to Boulder city documents, call for “a new approximately 74,000 square-foot two-story high school, new sports field, an enlarged parking lot, and updated access” on a 12-acre directly adjacent the existing New Vista campus at 700 20th St.

“New Vista High School is currently housed in a building that was originally constructed in 1952 as Baseline Jr. High School,” according to the district. “The building has aged to the point where the cost to repair and renovate was significant enough that it makes more financial sense to replace the school rather than continue to invest in a worn out, out-dated building.”

The school replacement project is expected to cost nearly $47.2 million, funds allocated from bonds approved in 2014 and 2022. 

“The new building will serve students for 70 years with significantly better energy efficiency and reduced ongoing maintenance costs,” BVSD said on the New Vista project webpage. “In addition, the new building design supports the educational program better, with features such as a modern performance space/auditorium, outdoor learning spaces, and flexible learning spaces.”

New Vista serves about 330 students between grades nine and twelve.

In a May 2023 update about the school replacement project, BVSD revealed that it has hired Arizona-based Adolfson & Peterson Co. to serve as general contractor. A&P Co. has several Colorado offices, including one in Johnstown. Denver’s MOA Architecture is the project’s designer.

“The contractor is developing the detailed construction schedule, which plans for approximately 15 months to construct the new building and a mid-year move-in during the 2024-25 school year. Planning is underway for a groundbreaking celebration in August,” BVSD said. 

It’s somewhat rare that another government entity comes before the Boulder Planning Board. More commonly, the board reviews site plans for private commercial and residential developments. 

According to planning staffers, Colorado law “requires the board of education of the school district to submit a site development plan for review and comment to the planning commission or governing body of a municipality prior to construction. In addition, the planning board or governing body may request a public hearing before the board of education of the school district regarding the site development plan.”

Should the members of the Boulder Planning Board have issues with the proposal, city staffers recommend that they instruct staff to “draft a letter to the Boulder Valley School District Board of Directors, incorporating the city’s comments and requesting any proposed changes, which letter may be signed by the city manager.”

Boulder Planning Board is scheduled to meet virtually at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Source: BizWest