The Denver Public Schools

The Denver Public Schools, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College school projects included a 9 million dollar athletic expansion. New facilities included a new gymnasium for basketball and volleyball, complete with bleachers, storage, locker rooms, coaching offices, laundry, training room, ticket booth and concessions. Back of house areas included electrical rooms, custodial, IDF room. The existing gym included updates to P.E. storage, locker rooms. Exterior improvements included new CHSAA compliant turf fields with sports lighting.

Mental Health Center of Denver, Dahlia Campus for Health & Well Being

Project Description

MEP Engineering was selected by the Mental Health Center of Denver to provide mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services for their Health and Well Being Dahlia Campus, located in Denver, CO. This project included a four-story existing building with 89,000 affected square feet, with renovation and new construction of a three-level parking garage. Davis Partnership Architects was the selected architect for this project. MEP services were completed in April 2012.

The site included four acres 35th and Dahlia in northeast Denver. Design services were included for 46,000 SF of indoor classroom area, play, community, and therapy space. Outdoor components included play areas, counseling gardens, and an urban farm. The facility includes a variety of services such as outpatient clinic services, early childhood, school-based health care, day treatment, therapeutic pre-school, family support services, dental clinic, flex community area, operations/administrative area, and building support spaces.


St. Mary’s Academy

Project Description

This project involved design services for St Mary’s Academy campus in Cherry Hills, Colorado. Our services included a new 22,000 square foot community center with one story with a basement level. A high-performance building was a primary driver in the design of this facility and the team utilized a ground source heat pump system to heat and cool the building.

The main level consisted of 11,000 square feet and includes the main lobby, counseling office, kitchen, EDC classroom, EDC office, children’s cubical area, three individual restrooms, dining hall/ multipurpose room, storage area, two classrooms, Men’s/Women’s restroom group, reception area, and a janitor’s closet. The lower level is approximately 11,000 square feet and will include men’s/women’s restrooms, two classrooms, junior kindergarten room, three multi-purpose classrooms with moveable walls, offices, storage areas, server room, mechanical room, and two sets of individual men’s/women’s restrooms.

The new facility features Middle School language classrooms, cross-divisional Performing Arts classrooms, Extended Daycare for Lower School students, Junior Kindergarten classroom space and the Duncan Lunchroom with world-class views of the Rocky Mountains. Parents can look forward to the spacious and dynamic multi-purpose room for meetings, mixers, receptions and students’ performances and art exhibits.


The Englewood Campus

Project Description

MEP Engineering was selected to provide Design-Build services for a new 7-12 school campus, located on the existing lot on the northeast corner of Mansfield Ave and Logan Street in Englewood, Colorado. The campus includes Englewood Leadership Academy, Englewood Middle School and High School for a total of 214,000 square feet of space. Constructed in two phases, this project consisted of three new school facilities and the renovation of approximately 70,000 square feet of auditorium, band and fieldhouse spaces. Significant importance was given to sustainable building concepts throughout the design process with the goal of achieving Silver LEED certification.

Major design considerations included the development of separate building entrances for the middle school and high school with some shared spaces to maximize the use of flexible spaces and layout to accommodate future expansion. New shared functions and specials rooms are located in the common areas between the middle and high school grade levels. The new building design supports the district’s programs and curricula focused on building 21st-century skills that ensure students graduate able to successfully compete in the job market and/or post-secondary education. The total estimated construction cost was $34M.


Swigert International K-8 School

Swigert students are asked to “create a better and more peaceful world.” To help them focus on this important mission, we provided design and assisted with electrical engineering services for the sustainability-focused, new 103,000 square foot E-8 DPS Stapleton 3 School. The school will support up to 950 students in 40 classrooms and 5 multi-purpose spaces. Design intent and scope included electrical, lighting, CATV, clock/bell, data, fire alarm, sound amplification, the security and telephone and paging systems.

Design meets LEED, Xcel Rebate and security requirements

We designed the school to meet LEED Certification requirements, Xcel Rebate requirements, and flexibility for use as a 6-12 or specialized program school to allow for future alignments with the needs of the growing community. The site included two drop off parking lots, a maintenance lot, site signage with rough-in for future data capabilities, and rough-ins for future field scoreboards. We planned the site lighting to integrate both pedestrian and building lighting and to meet the Denver Public School District security requirements. The requirements mandate ample lighting for the site’s security cameras and request design complement the surrounding community and learning environments.

Multipurpose, multi-media space serves all ages

We designed the east, single-story wing for Early Child Education and Kindergarten areas, while the three-story wing to the west was planned to accommodate first through eighth grade educational areas—including two science classrooms on the second floor and special education rooms. Each classroom and multi-purpose space in both areas included enhanced audio, wired networking, wireless networking and promethean board systems.

Versatile lighting and electrical solutions conserve resources and add drama

We designed several areas to be shared by both wings of the school: the music room, the art room including a kiln, gymnasium with associated locker rooms, “cafetorium” with a removable stage and a media center. The media center included: a secured computer lab, wired and wireless access for computer stations and a stage with motorized curtains enabling black out conditions for performances.

Growing students flourish in natural light. So, we designed the classroom lighting to integrate economical daylight harvesting. Envisioning future theater performances peopled by eager little thespians, we designed the stage and seating area with dimmable can lighting and included rough-ins for future stage lighting and standing speakers systems. We included ceiling-mounted zoned speakers with a connection point for a rolling cart to provide microphone and sound systems in the gymnasium and “cafetorium.”

Both areas also incorporated 6-lamp high bay fluorescent fixtures, allowing the space to be lit at varying levels depending on the use.

Unfortunately, today’s schools must think ahead and provide the very best in electronic security systems to ensure students’ safety. Along with site security lighting and cameras, we designed the buildings’ security system to include interior cameras, card reader access, a motion detection system with integrated door contacts and the capabilities for interior camera police surveillance from the parking lot.

Estimated construction cost: $17.9 million.

Arapahoe High School Library Renovation

Arapahoe High School opened this newly renovated Library in the fall of 2014. The renovated space gave the students and the community a chance to heal following the tragic shooting that occurred at the school in December of 2013.

Yon Tanner Architecture, with a team of Arapahoe High School Students, won a design competition in the spring of 2014 to bring new life to the space. The new library boasts a technology help desk run by the school computer club, power outlets throughout the space (instead of a single computer lab) and three large study rooms to emphasize the collaborative nature of the school.

The students handled much of the interior design details of the library, like a memory book signed by all students to be placed in a time capsule, comfortable furniture, a café space and a large compass to be placed above the central room.

Construction cost was estimated at $1.1 -$1.35 million, much of which was raised through the donation of time and materials from local construction, architectural and engineering firms. We were proud to be part of this team.

Fort Lupton Middle School System Upgrades

In conjunction with the team at Anderson Hallas Architects, we provided design services for renovations to an existing school building which was constructed in 1932 and underwent numerous additions, renovations and upgrades over the years. Major additions were made to the building in 1962 and again in 1989.

Fort Lupton was named “Middle School of the Year” in 2011 by the National Association of Middle School Principals. The 3-story school is a combined 130,000+/- GSF and serves approximately 480 students in grades 6-8.

Funding for this project came through two sources, through BEST Grant funds (and matching requirements from the county) and through fund set aside specifically by the county. After careful investigation of various mechanical system replacement options, the district, owner’s representative and the design team pursued a new ground source heat pump system. The team used the following approach in their design decision: 

Determine owner requirements

  1. Budget
  2. Expected comfort levels
  3. Maintenance concerns
  4. LEED requirements

Calculate building load (annual hourly and peak)

The building loads are crucial in sizing each of the HVAC system options.

Evaluate site

Determine if the site is suitable for drilling. The athletic field worked well for our project. Adequate space was available and the proximity of the field to the mechanical room was ideal.

Life Cycle Analysis

We compared three HVAC systems: 4-Pipe Fan Coil, Water Source Heat Pumps, and Ground Source Heat Pumps (geothermal). We studied the total cost of ownership over a 30 year period. The study took into account installation cost, operating cost, and maintenance cost. The total cost of ownership of the geothermal system was 8% ($1 Million), lower than the other two systems.

Geotechnical Report

We drilled a test hole and tested geothermal conductivity. This data provided information on drilling conditions. Also, the thermal conductivity was required to finalize the design of the loop field (i.e. number of wells, spacing, type of grout, etc).

Field Trips

We took the owner to other schools in Colorado with functioning geothermal systems. The building engineer we visited answered many of the owner’s questions based on years of experience operating a geothermal system.

Final Costing

Based on the final geothermal design, revised contractor costs were received and evaluated against the owner’s budget. The numbers we received were $35.45 per square foot to install and commission the geothermal system. Comparatively, the water-source heat pump option and 4-pipe option were $29.93 and $32.20 respectively.


The total cost of ownership of the geothermal system was calculated at 8% less than the other two systems being compared. This was approximately a $1 million savings to the owner over a 30 year period. Therefore, Ft. Lupton Middle School personnel chose the geothermal system.

The geothermal system is capital intensive. Costs are typically directly related to size whereas with a traditional HVAC system (i.e. fossil fuel fired equipment); additional capacity comes at a much lower cost than the initial increment. Often times retrofit projects are not economically viable. In our case, the phasing of the project and scope of demolition lent well to installing a geothermal system with minimal impact to the school’s operation.

The total construction budget anticipated for both projects: approximately $8.5 million.

Adams 12 Five Star School District-Wide Instructional Technology Excellence (ITX)

Adams 12 Five Star School District-Wide Instructional Technology Excellence (ITX)

We designed the renovation and addition of multiple data rooms at 30 Elementary Schools, 7 Middle Schools, 7 High Schools and 4 Specialty schools. We added electrical capacity for new equipment, provided mechanical load calculations, provided additional mechanical cooling or exhaust as needed and furnished condensate drains when required.

Project history

Adams 12 Five Star Schools serves 42,200 students on the north end of the Denver Metro area. Prompted by state legislation by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) mandating online assessments, Adams 12 moved to update the cooling in data rooms to support massive equipment upgrades required to meet the IT hardware needs to support the State of Colorado mandated testing. The school district refers to this project as the ITX (Instructional Technology Excellence) project.

The district wants to integrate technology system-wide in the Adams 12 learning environment to deliver a true 21st Century education and to administer the PARCC on-line assessment as mandated by state law.

This ITX project is bringing wireless capacity and computing devices to every school classroom in the district. The initiative was the result of persistent advocacy by parents, students, teachers, principals, central office staff and board of education members who were concerned that the district’s old technology was not adequate to serve the students’ learning needs.

University Lofts at DU

University Lofts at DU

Our engineers were called to flex the right sides of their brains to design these stylish lofts directly across from the DU campus. The building perimeter landed on the property line on all four sides of the building, so, we brainstormed unique solutions to provide access to the building while maintaining dry utilities in the alley behind the building.

The lofts host first-level retail shops which we furnished with rooftop-mounted HVAC equipment. We also made accommodations on the first floor for a potential restaurant with a grease exhaust hood and make-up air unit.

We served the student housing units with an aquatherm heating system and split DX cooling system.

Our electrical included specification of lighting fixtures, a diesel generator, a card key access system, and switchgear for connection of the mechanical equipment.

Auraria Lofts

Auraria Lofts

This sleek, modern loft project included a five-story, above-grade student housing facility with 250 units and 450 beds. We planned: an interior courtyard, multiple common areas on each floor, laundry facilities, and internet cabling and office space for management of the facility.

We kept students’ safety needs in the forefront of our design planning. We designed a diesel generator to accommodate life safety egress lighting, as well as standby power for elevators. We also planned specialty safety lighting for the courtyard area and the perimeter of the building.

The mechanical system consisted of water source heat pumps, with boiler/cooling tower configuration. We coordinated electrical power to all the mechanical equipment and completed fire alarm design throughout the facility.