Boulder Valley School District

Students return to new and refreshed learning environments

Randy Barber

Thousands of students were greeted by new and renovated learning environments following a flurry of construction activity at schools across the district this summer through the Building for Student Success program. Thanks to the generosity of the Boulder Valley community, more than $50 million was invested in BVSD schools between May and July 2018.

Renovations aim to improve learning environments in alignment with district priorities such as supporting innovative teaching, expanding opportunities for early childhood education, and supporting physical development. New and improved preschool and kindergarten classrooms are coming online with kindergarten additions at Kohl and BCSIS as well as renovations to create preschool classrooms at Eldorado PK-8, Fireside, Kohl, and Eisenhower elementary schools. The new gym at Platt Middle School will benefit physical education classes and athletic programs, as well as community programs. Other investments to support student physical development include a new playground at BCSIS and High Peaks, tennis courts at Monarch and Broomfield high schools, and gym renovations at Centennial Middle School and Centaurus and Broomfield high schools. Running paths have been installed at Eldorado and Monarch PK-8s

Each school project provides the opportunity for school staffs to bring BVSD’s Innovation Guiding Principles to life with renovations to create innovative learning environments. Several schools chose to invest their Innovation funding to rethink their libraries and cafeterias to make them more inviting and expand student use of the spaces throughout the day. At Broomfield and Centaurus high schools as well as Centennial and Platt middle schools, renovated libraries will support a variety of learning activities such as small group interaction and collaboration, presentation spaces, individual reflection, and research.

Centennial Middle School principal John McCluskey says the common feature of the renovations to the library, cafeteria and new collaboration lab at his school is that they are trying to reflect the real world that kids are going into.

“We had our staff in the spaces yesterday, and we were able to move through the space, move furniture, move people as we needed. It gets you to think about space differently and empowers you to be self-directed in your learning. Your brain works better,” said McCluskey. “We could not be more excited.”  

Creating spaces that foster authentic learning experiences extends to the new culinary arts lab at Centennial as well.

“The individual cooking stations are more conducive to the best hands-on collaborative learning culinary arts experiences for students”, notes culinary arts teacher Scott Griffith. “Our new space has a front demonstration station that allows our junior chefs to clearly see the techniques they will practice. There is also a space for classroom learning (with video screen) adjacent to their kitchen stations, which can be used for presentations, food judging, and hospitality practice of serving other students completed recipes,” Griffith added.

A large amount of each project budget is directed toward replacing building systems and equipment such as roofs and boilers. Director of maintenance Molly Mcloughlin says that addressing large-scale deferred maintenance issues like leaky roofs with bond dollars allows Maintenance staff to focus on preventive maintenance.

“Moving from a reactive mode, where we are always responding to emergencies, to a proactive mode is a better use of resources and dollars,” Mcloughlin said. “This work helps us extend the life of our buildings.”

Design and planning is underway for projects that will move into construction next year. Learn more about what is happening in the Building for Student Success program at


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