Aurora, Colorado | K-12

Aurora Public Schools Vista PEAK Preparatory School Phases I and II

$55M | 293,000 SF

Aurora Public Schools Vista PEAK Preparatory School Phases I and II

  • Collaborative approach to systems to find best solution, displacement ventilation



Phase I of the Aurora Public Schools Vista PEAK Preparatory School was a new high school that opened in the fall of 2011. The 220,000-square-foot high school hosts 1,350 students in grades 9 through 12 when full enrollment is reached. Vista PEAK is part of the new 100-acre APS P-20 Education Pathways System located in eastern Aurora. P-20 Education is an integrated education system that extends from pre-school through higher education to help create a seamless and integrated education experience for all of its students.

Vista PEAK Preparatory School was designed and built to provide an atmosphere of enhanced learning for the students. The goal for the school district was to build a new high school that provided a “state-of-the-art” learning environment yet operates in a highly efficient manner. The other goal, as good public stewards, was to build the school in a sustainable manner.

To meet the district’s vision, Cator Ruma & Associates explored several different mechanical systems: some “tried and true” systems, as well as newer technology mechanical systems. These systems were looked at to determine how best they could integrate into the design components of the building. We took a collaborative approach to the project with the architects.

Based on the results of the analysis and collaboration, we selected an HVAC system that provides excellent low energy performance as well as the best ventilation effectiveness. This “Displacement Ventilation” (DV) system gave us the opportunity to provide a learning environment for the students and faculty that is extremely comfortable and helps promote the vision of the district regarding the education of their students. The application of this system includes indirect evaporative cooling which reduces energy costs. 

Now in full use, Mechanical and Lighting Systems are performing beyond the school district’s expectations. Students and faculty have responded with extremely positive feedback regarding those systems and to their contribution to an enhanced learning environment for the students.  

Phase II of the project includes a two story wing addition to support additional STEM programs, including both standard and lab classrooms as well as specialty areas. It also includes minor renovations and additions to the existing athletic portions of the building and commons area. All systems for this work are tied into and match the existing systems.

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