Vista Charter School

Montrose, Colorado

Vista Charter School is an alternative high school that operates three sessions a day to allow students to hold a job while attending school. It also houses an Expulsion Intervention Program with classes for students in grades 9–12. Being a BEST-funded school required that it be highly efficient. So, the two primary design goals were to create an environment supportive of alternative learning, and to design an efficient, LEED Gold building.

The 16,866 sf facility includes eight classrooms, a commons area, teaching kitchen, administration area, support spaces, outdoor garden and green house, and a youth community drop-in center.

The school is inviting and stimulating, with flexible spaces where students and faculty can interact in a variety of settings. Each classroom has natural daylight. In rooms where traditional windows might provide distractions, daylight is admitted by clerestory windows and skylights. Classrooms can accommodate large classes, small groups, and individual learning. Furnishings are com­fortable, flexible, and support technology. Security features include ballistic glazing, access control system, and indoor and outdoor security cameras. The USGBC awarded Vista a LEED Gold rating and it is the first LEED-rated school in Montrose County.