Riverdale Ridge High School exterior

Hundreds attend Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Riverdale Ridge High School

Posted On: August 10, 2018

Architect DLR Group, Saunders Construction, Inline Management worked two years to build school

THORNTON, COLO. (August 9, 2018) – Hundreds of excited students, parents and community members came out to celebrate the official opening of Riverdale Ridge High School (RRHS) on August 7 at a ribbon cutting ceremony. The ceremony included City of Thornton Mayor Heidi Williams and Thornton Councilman Josh Zygielbaum speaking as well as RRHS Principal Terry Elliott, 27J Board of Education President Robert Thimmig and School Superintendent Dr. Chris Fiedler making remarks.

The Riverdale Ridge High School dance team and cheerleaders started the ceremony by cheering and then leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance; and other students on RRHS sports teams wore their uniforms showing their school pride. The 30-piece Thornton Community Band also performed as guests arrived. Tours of the high school followed the ceremony.

Riverdale Ridge High School, located at 13380 Yosemite Street in Thornton, is the third comprehensive high school within School District 27J.

The school sits on more than 70-acres of land and the new high school is 250,000-sq.-ft. in size. The school has a two-story classroom wing and the main hallway in the school includes an administration office, performing arts auditorium, student commons/cafeteria and a main gymnasium with an attached small gym. The student capacity is 1,756 for 9th-12th grade students. The school will open to over 520, 9th and 10th grade students adding an additional grade each year for the next two years.

Students attending 27J’s newest middle school, Roger Quist Middle, will attend classes at Riverdale Ridge High until their new facility is completed directly across the street in 2020. The middle school will be self-contained within Riverdale Ridge High.

The Owner’s Representative of Inline Management, Architect DLR Group and Constructor Saunders Construction team worked together to build the new high school.

“For over two years the construction and design teams have worked countless hours together to build this beautiful new high school,” said Caleb McNeil, 27J senior construction project manager.

DLR Group was the architectural firm that designed the high school. “The design and functionality of this building is not only very conducive to the day-to-day staff and students, but parents and the public will appreciate the openness and the conveyance of movement of the different spaces that have been created as well,” McNeil said.

Architect DLR Group designed the high school around four Small Learning Communities (SLC), each appropriately scaled to personalize the learning suite and experience for students. Modern learning spaces include labs and group work areas to support hands-on educational opportunities that prepare students for their future careers.

“DLR Group designed this facility to promote both academic and social development, and to encourage relationship building between students and educators. These skills are crucial for student success in high school and beyond,” said DLR Group Principal Greg Cromer.

Jodelle Senger was the lead architect on the project. “For over 10 years I have worked on and been part of the HS#3 design, which became Riverdale Ridge High School, and though I’m so excited to see it open to students and staff, it’s a bittersweet moment too,” Senger said. “I’ll always cherish the time spent designing this school, and all the great people I got to work with during that time.”

Saunders Construction was the general contractor to build the high school. “Saunders employed over 1,100 people in the construction of Riverdale Ridge and at the peak had over 300 workers on site on a typical day. The coordination and scheduling required to construct a building of such magnitude is something that Saunders worked tirelessly for,” McNeil said.

Riverdale Ridge High School Construction Superintendent Luis Covarrubias works for Saunders Construction. He is also a graduate of School District 27J’s Brighton High School. “I think it’s awesome to a part of building the District’s next high school,” said Covarrubias. “It’s really satisfying to see in the course of two years the site changing from bare land to a construction zone to now a school where you can see students come and learn.”

Inline Management provided owner’s representative construction coordination services for Riverdale Ridge High School. “We are proud and pleased to turn this beautiful new high school over to School District 27J,” said Michael Hall of Inline Management. “It’s truly a thrill to see teachers and students in the building as school starts.”

The official first day of school for Riverdale Ridge High School will be on Tuesday, August 14.


About School District 27J

School District 27J educates almost 18,000 students from Brighton, Commerce City, Henderson, Thornton, and a portion of the city of Aurora and encompasses parts of Adams, Broomfield and Weld counties. Our mission is to equip our students with the tools and knowledge to succeed now and in the future.

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