Riverdale Ridge High School Frank Stump talks at the Topping Out

Newly Named Riverdale Ridge High School Tops Off Construction In School District

Posted On: May 23, 2017

New $89.5 Million Facility to Be Flagship Project of 2015 Bond Passage  

(Thornton, Colo.) –May 23, 2017Saunders Construction, Inc., a leading general contractor in Colorado, in conjunction with DLR Group an integrated design firm, Inline Management a construction owner’s representative, and School District 27J, announced today the official steel topping off of Riverdale Ridge High School (formerly known as High School No. 3) in Thornton, Colorado. The high school will be the flagship project of a $248 million bond proposal that passed in November 2015 and will allow the school district to build four new schools. The new $89.5 million build-out of Riverdale Ridge High School is expected to be completed in summer 2018 with an opening that August to students.

The topping off ceremony signifies the completion of a major construction milestone by placing the highest piece of structural steel on the project. A tree sapling resting atop the final steel beam pays homage to a long-held construction tradition.

“I have been so impressed with the efforts of our 27J construction and facilities team as well as the pride Saunders Construction has for the project,” said Riverdale Ridge High School Principal Terry Elliott. “With a name and a boundary area completed, I am excited to begin moving to discussions on how we will create great learning spaces under the new roof.”

“Riverdale Ridge will be a place for a passionate community of learners to gather and engage in building strong foundations for their unlimited futures,” said Elliott. “I am excited for all the young scholars we will support in the years ahead at Riverdale Ridge and to welcoming the community onto our campus this time next year!”

Saunders Construction began construction on the project almost a year ago and the process will result in a state-of-the-art 253,000-square-foot facility on 60 acres that can accommodate 1,800 students. It will embrace a Small Learning Community (SLC) model organized around four small learning communities that will give students a personalized learning experience, while maintaining a small school feel. To accommodate steady student enrollment growth, School District 27J has planned the school to be built in the northeast quadrant of the District to allow for future growth and the completion of a future middle school.

The Administration and Media Center are located at the main entrance, with the second story Media Center capturing incredible views to the northwest and Colorado’s Front Range. The activity portion of the building supports the larger, more active, functions such as the Auditorium, Gymnasium, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. A large student commons, which promotes social interaction between students and staff, can also be used as pre-function space for after-hours events in the Auditorium and Gymnasium.


About School District 27J
School District 27J educates more than 17,000 students from Brighton, Commerce City, 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.

About DLR Group
Founded as an architecture and engineering firm, DLR Group celebrates 50 years in 2016. Today, DLR Group serves clients through the integrated delivery of planning, architecture, engineering, interiors and building optimization for new construction, renovation and adaptive reuse. Core areas of design expertise include Civic, Courts, Detention, Energy Services, Healthcare, Higher Education, Hospitality, K-12 Education, Retail, Sports and Workplace. Our promise is to elevate the human experience through design. This promise inspires sustainable design for a diverse group of public and private sector clients, local communities and our planet. DLR Group fully supports the initiatives and goals of the 2030 Challenge and is an initial signatory to the China Accord and the AIA 2030 Commitment. Visit dlrgroup.com and follow the firm on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Saunders
Saunders serves the commercial building industry as a full-service general contractor, design-builder and construction manager. A leader in the Colorado construction industry since its inception in 1972, Saunders’ experience includes a wide range of project types. Saunders is one of the region’s largest general contractors and is the recipient of more than 100 industry awards for its construction excellence, employee achievements and community contributions.  In addition, Saunders is a member of the Citadel Group – an alliance of seven regional construction-related companies with operations in 19 cities. For additional information, please visit www.saundersinc.com. 

About Inline Management
Inline Management is Colorado’s premier Owners representative firm specializing in school construction and capital improvements projects. Inline’s singular focus means they deliver unmatched service by aligning to the goals and objectives of their client partners. Inline’s core team has over 120 years of owner representative and construction project management experience.


Media Contacts:               

Courtney Lis

Tracy L. Rudnick, Public Information Officer
School District 27J
Office: 303-655-2905
Mobile: 561-632-6665

Teena Bergstrand, Senior Marketing Manager
Saunders Construction, Inc.

Media Contact
Teena Bergstand

Senior Director of Marketing Strategy
(303) 699-9000

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