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The new Moffat PK-12 school, located in the dispersed rural population of the San Luis Valley, utilizes passive solar strategies to take advantage of the harsh environment of the area. The diverse student population comes from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs which were reflected in the planning and design of the new school.
The new school is located adjacent to their existing facility, allowing it to remain operational during construction. The school is arranged in age-specific “Learning Communities.” These communities utilize shared facilities to promote and separate age-appropriate “academic neighborhoods," grade transitions, and internal zoning, all of which are critical in a PK-12 model. In order to accommodate small fluctuating class sizes, individual classrooms have folding partitions to expand as needed.
Designed to LEED Gold standards, the thermal mass of the exposed polished concrete floors and CMU block are designed to absorb the heat from the south glazing. This helps to regulate the seasonal temperatures. Also, large thermal curtains expand over the glazed walls to help retain the stored heat during cold nights. Radiant slabs are used in the educational and administration areas to comfortably and efficiently provide heat. A wind analysis was conducted during design to optimize the placement and type of wind breaks to protect students from the harsh winds in play areas.