The eastern part of Boulder was booming, so the decision was made to add a second high school and relieve crowding at Boulder High. For its first 10 years, Fairview High was located near Baseline Reservoir in the building now known as Nevin Platt Middle School. The first year, it enrolled about 480 students.
The modern Fairview bears little resemblance to its first incarnation. The building is in a different location, the curriculum is vastly different and enrollment is reaching close to 2,000 students. The school also has grown into one of the highest-achieving in the state and is known for its fine arts and sports programs.
“Fairview has always been a terrific school,” said Stan Garnett, Boulder County’s district attorney and a 1974 Fairview graduate who was “head boy” his senior year. “It’s really been an asset to the community.”
The first football game against Boulder High — the start of a long-standing rivalry that continues today — saw Fairview go down 47 to nothing, he said. But by the ’70s, Fairview was winning most of the games.
The 1970s also were Fairview’s peak enrollment years, as young families moved into the Martin Acres neighborhood in droves. The school had more than 2,100 students for several years in the ’70s, Danielson said.
Fairview moved to its current building on Greenbriar Boulevard in 1971.
At the time, the new school — built for $5.5 million — was lauded for its “avant-garde” design. Hexagonal classroom clusters and ramps were design elements that set the five-level school apart. The design also included a student center and lots of community space to allow for independent study time.
The new school opened with 1,914 students, though it was built for 1,810. Crowding was addressed through a schedule similar to those used by colleges, with students spending some hours in labs or resource centers. The new academic program was described by the Boulder Valley School District superintendent at the time as a “mini-college.”
Though the school’s design won an award, its construction wasn’t as solid. In 1978, on a Saturday, a portion of the school’s roof over the student center collapsed after a heavy snowfall. No one was injured, though students were taking college entrance exams at the time.
An investigation found steel trusses — the roof’s main structural element — had been shortened on one end and improperly welded back together.
Fairview has gone through several remodels. The most recent was in 2008, when the school underwent an $11 million remodeling project that included renovations to the 300 and 700 levels, the counseling center and senior balcony, a classroom addition, locker replacement, interior finish upgrades and ventilation improvements.