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  Bethke Elementary School

Bethke Elementary SchoolArchitect

RB+B Architects, Inc.
315 E. Mountain Avenue, #100, Fort Collins, CO 80524

General Description

LEED® for Schools Gold Level Achieved GBI Level Achieved: 3 out of 4 Green Globes Energy Star Score 98
Timnath, Colorado
Date Bid: Feb 2007 Construction Period: Apr 2007 to June 2008
Total Square Feet: 62,691 Site: 13.63 acres.
Number of Buildings: One; 26 classrooms; seating capacity, 525.
Building Size: First floor, 46,430; second floor, 16,261; total,
62,691 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 9’4”; second floor, 9’4”; floor to floor, 13’4”; total, 28’.
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: CMU, curtainwall. Roof: Built-up, metal, membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: CMU, metal stud drywall.
Projected and/or Modeled Energy Usuage KBTU/SF/yr: 32.

LEED® for Schools Gold Level Achieved GBI Level Achieved: 3 out of 4 Green Globes Energy Star Score 98

Construction Team

Structural Engineer: JVA, Inc. - 25 Old Town Square, #200, Fort Collins, CO 80524
General Contractor: Dohn Construction - 2642 Midpoint Drive, #A, Fort Collins, CO 80525
Electrical/Mechanical Engineer: Shaffer Baucom Engineering Consultants - 7333 West Jefferson Avenue, #230, Lakewood, CO 80235
LEED Consultant: Institute for the Built Environmnet Spruce Hall, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523

In May of 2000, the Poudre School District (PSD) sponsored a design competition for a Prototype three round K-6 elementary school. Along with traditional Education and Technical Specifications, the three competition finalists were given PSD's "Sustainable Design Guidelines". These Guidelines were the result of 18 months of a comprehensive participatory process involving facility personnel, educators, and administrators. Thus "total District buy-in" was paramount in a fundamental shift away from conventional design. Due to meticulous and prudent management of the Bond funds, PSD was able to fund a 4th elementary school in 2006. The result was Bethke Elementary School, opening in the Fall of 2008.

The school is designed on an East-West axis. Classrooms face North and South and employ "cool-daylighting(R)", a natural and artificial lighting strategy developed by the team's daylighting consultant. Indirect, evaporative cooling and heat-recovery wheels, along with a very tight building envelope will drop the building's energy use down to well below 1/3 that of a typical Colorado school.

An array of building products made from recycled materials are used throughout the building. Outside, landscape features were strategically placed along with bio-swales, low water use plantings, and alternative paving. All of this was accomplished within a very sustainable cost of $152/sf (building and site).

The solution to the design challenge included many high-performance design elements:

Daylighting - Natural light enhances student learning and creates invigorating indoor spaces.

Exterior Insulation - Upgraded insulation levels in exterior walls and the roof reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter, resulting in lower utility costs. A closed-cell polyurethane spray insulation was applied to all exterior walls to provide insulation, as well as act as the vapor retarder and rain screen.

Reduced Cooling Load - Less electrical lighting reduces the annual cooling load. Less air conditioning is needed to maintain the comfort level and energy use is reduced.

Reduced HVAC Equipment - A lower cooling load allows for the installation of smaller HVAC cooling systems.

Displacement Ventilation - Displacement ventilation supplies air to a space near the floor level with very low velocity. This configuration improves air quality, helps to minimize air movement noise levels and saves energy.

Classrooms filled with natural light have been shown repeatedly to not only improve student performance but also enhance student and staff attitudes and reduce absenteeism. Over half the classrooms in this prototype are able to achieve required light levels without any artificial lighting for most of the school day (the remainder only require about 30% supplemental lighting). Bright, inviting, vibrant spaces are spaces where students want to be.

"This building showcases our commitment to educate current and future generations about the importance of being responsible stewards of our environment," said Ann Alfonso, Bethke Elementary School's new Principal. "We hope other school districts, as well as building owners, will follow our lead when investigating future construction projects as we believe green building is just better building."

"The design team was committed to furthering education, both in the classroom and about the classroom in an engaging facility. From the bright red fire sprinkler pipe assembly at the front door to windows allowing views of the mechanical systems, the students no longer simply pass through the school but they are affected by it," Bill Franzen, Executive Director for Operations, Poudre School District.


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