Boulder Valley School District

Aging Buildings

Workers on a roof

Major Facility Condition Needs

BVSD owns and operates 61 buildings, including schools, field houses, stadiums, bus storage and maintenance buildings, and a culinary center that total over 4.8 million square feet. These buildings range in age from 1 year to 140 years, with more than half being over 40 years old. These facilities are located on 817 acres that include parking lots, playgrounds, athletic fields and amenities, etc. 

Nearly 60 percent of BVSD buildings are over 40 years old

Just like with personal property such as homes or vehicles, over time, equipment and materials in our buildings wear out and become outdated. In 2021, BVSD worked with a third-party vendor to visit and assess our 4.8 million square feet of facility space and associated sites. The team evaluated major architectural, mechanical, electrical, and site infrastructure system components, estimating their “in-kind” replacement values, and where each is within its expected lifecycle. The assessment prioritized identified requirements by urgency related to due date. More than half the Critical Needs Plan would be directed to critical, major maintenance such as roofing and building system repairs that are needed within two years to keep facilities safe, operational, code compliant, and in good condition. The plan also includes asbestos abatement to reduce the risks associated with hazardous materials. In addition, so that students of all physical abilities can play and exercise, playground mulch on a number of elementary playgrounds would be replaced with rubberized solid surfaces that are wheelchair friendly. 

The 2014 Bond Program went a long way toward making buildings safer. Security features such as secure entry vestibules, security controls at entrances, security cameras and corridor partitions provide more monitoring and control of access to buildings. Work on our current Critical Needs list such as updating fire protection and intercom/public address systems will ensure our safety and security systems are ready to perform in a crisis.

Different building components wear out and become outdated at different rates and have different replacement cycles. This is also true for components of major systems such as roofs or HVAC. For example, it is common for different sections of a roof to be on different replacement cycles. This may mean that one section of a school’s roof was replaced in BVSD’s 2014 Bond Program but another section has become critical to replace now. Similarly, HVAC systems have numerous components that wear out at different rates meaning that a system may need major updates to different components in each capital improvement cycle. Ongoing major maintenance and upkeep is necessary to protect the community’s investment and continue to provide great spaces for learning. Repairing and updating our buildings will be a continuous task for as long as we teach students in buildings.

  • Building Envelope: Exterior shell components that are exposed to the outdoors

  • Building Systems: Mechanical, electrical, plumbing, etc. equipment and components

  • Infrastructure/Site: Includes grounds and utility needs

  • Space Improvement: Interior shell and cosmetic improvements

  • Safety/Code: Code compliance, fire protection, and accessibility needs


The Critical Needs Plan creates opportunities to continue to move towards our sustainability goals for energy efficiency, air quality, resource use, and water conservation. Sustainability is integrated into BVSD’s Operational practices, and work identified in the plan will follow our established Green Building Guiding Principles and Technical Specifications. Equipment such as boilers or lighting that are at the end of their service life will be replaced with high efficiency models that meet or exceed energy code requirements when possible. Worn out materials such as carpet or paint will be replaced with low VOC versions that are recycled/recyclable where possible. Irrigation systems have been identified to be replaced with the newest technology to reduce water consumption. 

New Vista High School Replacement

In some cases, when a building has aged to the point where the cost to repair and renovate is significant enough, it makes more financial sense to replace the school rather than continue to invest in a worn out, out-dated building. New Vista High School is housed in a building that was originally constructed in 1952 as Baseline Jr. High School. New Vista moved into the building in 2003. In the 2014 Bond Program, planned improvements were put on hold to allow staff to have discussions with the University of Colorado (CU) about partnership options related to both the University Hill and New Vista campuses. After further discussions, neither the BVSD Board of Education nor the community was supportive of the proposed options. 

Since 2014, there has been substantial deterioration in the condition of the building, particularly related to structural integrity. An updated facility assessment conducted in 2019 estimated the cost to address current building needs significantly exceeded the project budget (despite additional funding to account for inflation), and that the building is approaching the end of its useful life. 

Existing Conditions at New Vista

The floors and foundations have settled causing cracking in the interior brick wall surfaces. The superstructure is showing signs of its age with structure cracking. Structural foundations and superstructures can easily last 100+ years, but due to the extent of the structural cracking the system will be considered at the end of its service life in 6-10 years.

In addition to the structural issues, there has been storm and groundwater intrusion into the interior of the building and major systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC) and materials (carpet, flooring, paint) are at the end of their service lives. New Vista is the only non-mountain school without permanent air conditioning and experiences extreme classroom temperature fluctuations throughout the year. There are also significant ADA issues throughout the building which creates inequity. 

The building assessment calculated that the cost to renovate and address identified deficiencies exceeded 75 percent of the cost to construct a new building to serve the New Vista program. New construction would provide the district with a building that will serve students for 70 years with significantly better energy efficiency and reduced ongoing maintenance costs. 

While New Vista teachers have made the most of the existing building, the learning environment falls short of what BVSD aims to provide for all students. A new building would be designed to support the educational program better, with features such as a modern performance space/auditorium, outdoor learning spaces, and flexible learning spaces, all of which are poor quality or lacking in the current building. 

In 2020, realizing that the scope of work and budget identified for New Vista in the 2014 Educational Facilities Master Plan was insufficient to fully address the current deficiencies in the building and provide an appropriate learning environment, the Board of Education established the New Vista Working Group to consider options and make a recommendation for a path forward. The group included school and district staff and community members. 

Led by a local architect, the group considered a spectrum of options from moving forward with the existing project scope and budget to new construction. In January 2021, the Board supported the group’s recommendation to move forward with constructing a new building on the same site. A portion of the project budget in the 2014 Bond program was used for design of the new building, and the remainder will be used toward new construction. Additional funding is needed to combine with 2014 bond dollars to complete construction. 

Preliminary design has been completed. Final design will be completed in Spring of 2023. Contingent on the condition of the construction market, particularly related to supply chain and labor markets, the project could begin construction in 2023.