This new school replaces the District’s existing high school with a new high-tech, high-performance campus. The design was developed with significant input from the District’s Design Advisory Team, the community of Cortez, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Council. Every design decision reflects this collaborative process, which included multiple Community Open Houses, precedent studies, a tour of recently built high schools, and an online survey.
All general classrooms are identical in size to provide flexibility over time as enrollment and courses evolve. Specialized CTE spaces enable hands-on instruction for Montezuma-Cortez High School's (MCHS) unique agriculture, culinary arts, journalism, fire science, band, choir, drama, and art programs. A main gym, auxiliary gym, wrestling room, weight room, and support spaces provide space for the District’s robust physical education program.
The site design for the new MCHS takes advantage of panoramic mountain views and promotes safety and security through passive measures, such as a highly visible entry courtyard and single building entry. The building is organized in a simple layout that promotes visual supervision and supports after-hours use for school and community activities.
In addition to achieving LEED Gold certification to meet BEST grant requirements, it is important to the District to focus on energy efficiency and create a healthy indoor environment. The new school includes an optimized building envelope, extensive daylighting, efficient systems, water-conserving plumbing fixtures and landscaping, and a variety of low-emitting, recycled, and regional materials.