Chipeta Elementary School

Mesa County Valley School District 51, Grand Junction, Colorado

Two existing schools were being combined into one at Chipeta Elementary. Wide community input was solicited from the beginning to insure that stake­holders had a voice in the process. After the School Board approved initial parameters, an open community meeting was held to introduce designs. Five alternative plans were presented, each showing conceptual floor plans and site plans, and listing pros and cons. To stimulate responses, an ‘image inventory’ slide show presented sample school buildings’ relevant interior and exterior features, such as open spaces, large windows, playgrounds, colors and materials, and the ability to fit into their location. The 100+ audience members recorded their responses, which were then

categorized and tallied. After the comments were evaluated, the preferred plan was re-presented with general assent from the public, and the design process was launched.

This two-story 45,866 gsf building has ample glazing which brings abundant natural light into the classrooms, library, multi-purpose room, gymnasium, and stairs. Multiple colors and textures of both CMU and metal panels make up the exterior palette. A simplified structure and a well coordi­nated effort with the CM/GC contributed to meeting the tight budget and to success­fully attaining LEED Gold certification. This is the first school in Mesa County Valley School District 51 to achieve a LEED Gold rating.