Green is the word at the new Vail Academy and High School, 7762 E. Science Park Drive.

The building is shaping up into what officials hope will be recognized as one of the most environmentally friendly schools in the state.

And while construction crews are installing the finishing touches, principal Dennis Barger is awaiting word on whether all the effort adds up to a platinum rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED.

"We believe we've met the platinum level and we're going to get the platinum," he said. "We believe that would make us the first school in the state to be LEED Platinum."

The most visible evidence of the school's ecological commitment are several wind turbines high atop light poles in the front parking lot and rows of photovoltaic panels lining the roof, which Barger estimated would meet a third of the facility's electrical needs.

Other green features are recycled denim insulation, motion sensors to shut off lights in empty classrooms, air conditioner overrides limiting usage when the building is largely empty, an extensive water-harvesting system to capture rain for landscape irrigation and a regimen radically limiting construction waste sent to the landfill.

While the high school and its 225 students are making the mile or so move to fresh digs, the facility also will be home to 250 students comprising a brand-new kindergarten-through-eighth grade. Classes in the new facility are scheduled to begin for all grades on July 23.

Contact photographer Kelly Presnell at or 954-1974.