Emerald Elementary School is one of four new net-zero ready schools in Boulder Valley School District, Colorado (BVSD) designed by Fielding to nurture 21st Century Learning and exemplify the kind of innovation in learning at the core of BVSD’s Strategic Plan, and the $650 million bond passed by the community. Due to logistics, it was imperative that students continue their education in the old building as the new one was built.
Our new school needs to be built on the same site as our existing one, which must stay operational.”
The design team developed a concept for Emerald Elementary School that was inspired by student drawings of Emerald as a castle in the forest surrounded by a moat, and protected by the Emerald dragon. The moat became a dry creek bed for storm water management, and the forest is the expansive play landscape in front of the school. Inside, a central hearth welcomes visitors and students alike. The traditional library is reimagined as the Curiosity Center – a 21st century media and resource hub that fuels student curiosity and provides a place for gathering. Located at the heart of the school, the Curiosity Center is visible from the main entrance and positioned between all Learning Communities, becoming a visible symbol of learning.
The new school has a compact footprint, which allowed the existing school to stay operational on the same site, and is designed to give back a lot more outdoor learning space for learning and play. The school is also oriented from East to West to maximize the preferred north/south daylight.