Fountain Valley School of Colorado

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Fountain Valley School
6155 Fountain Valley School Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80911
Type Independent preparatory school
Established 1930
Head of school William V. Webb
Faculty ~47
Grades Grades 9-12
Enrollment ~260
Color(s) Red and grey         
Mascot Danes
Information (719) 390-7035

Fountain Valley School of Colorado is a private, co-educational independent college preparatory school for students in the 9th through 12th grades. The school's primary campus is located on 1,100 acres (4 km2) of rolling prairie at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The school also owns and utilizes a 40-acre Mountain Campus located near Buena Vista.

FVS is a member of the Association of Boarding Schools, or TABS, and is home to the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute for teaching professionals.


FVS was founded in 1930 by Elizabeth Sage Hare, a wealthy New York native who moved to Colorado Springs in 1927 in hopes that the fresh air would help heal her husband's tuberculosis (see tuberculosis treatment in Colorado Springs). Hare dreamed of creating "a great progressive school in the West" in the tradition of prestigious schools in the East, such as Avon Old Farms in Connecticut. With the help of Colorado Springs entrepreneur and philanthropist Spencer Penrose, she convinced the school's first headmaster, Francis Mitchell Froelicher to come west to start the school.

Hare commissioned architect John Gaw Meem to use the Pueblo Revival Style architecture model for its design. The site chosen for the school was a large ranch, known as Lazy B Ranch, belonging to Palm Beach polo enthusiast Jack Bradley. The school's first building was Bradley's spectacular 1927 home, designed by Adison Mizner. The house was known as Casa Serena, and was surrounded by a polo field, stables, and some small residences for ranch hands. Hare purchased the Lazy B and all of its amenities for $150,000 in November 1929.[1]

The school opened as a boarding school for boys in September 1930. Original faculty members included F. Martin Brown, who taught science, Alexander S. Campbell (English), Roswell C. Josephs and Robert C. Langdon (mathematics), Ernest Kitson (music), C. Dwight Perry (French), Boardman Robinson (art), and Froelicher himself, who taught history. Early funders, in addition to Hare and Penrose, included Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms, Lucile Alsop, Hagner Holme and Alfred Cowles.[2]

The school has had only seven headmasters and one head of school in its 80+ year history: Froelicher (1930–1950), Henry B. Poor (1951–1958), Lewis Perry Jr. (1958–1978), Timothy Knox (1978–1987), Eric S. Waples (1987–1995), John E. Creeden (1995–2007), Craig T. Larimer (Class of 1969 graduate; 2007-2013), and current head of school William V. Webb.

Students and faculty[edit]

During the 2010-2011 academic year, FVS enrolled 260 students, 173 of whom were boarding students and 87 of whom were day students. 48% were male and 52% were female. They hailed from 27 different states and 19 different countries, and 22% of them claimed permanent residence in a nation other than the United States. International students during the 2000s came from diverse countries, including Germany, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Russia and Australia. 36% of students received some form of financial aid.

In 2010-2011, the school employed 47 faculty members, 36 of whom were full-time, 27 of whom lived on campus, and 70% of whom held advanced degrees in their field.[3]

Outdoor and equestrian programs[edit]

FVS is home to a world-class equestrian program and a spectacular 60-horse herd. Both English and Western riding programs are available, and students compete in everything from gymkhana to hunter-jumper shows. The school has a rich, nearly 80-year history in Western riding and has garnered numerous national awards. Since the inception of the English riding program in 2003, student teams won an Interscholastic Equestrian Association national title in 2007 and 2010.

The outdoor education program and the Western Immersion Program (WIP) are parts of the school curriculum and utilize the Mountain Campus throughout the school year. The outdoor education program sponsors overnight and day trips to the campus, and allows students to participate in rock climbing, mountain biking, and other mountain pursuits in place of a traditional NCAA sport or other extracurricular activity.

WIP was established in 1996 to allow 10th graders to utilize the Western landscape for an interdisciplinary study experience. The sophomores head to the Mountain Campus every October to learn how the Western environment shaped the people, history, culture and region. The Mountain Campus also hosts student ski trips, biking trips and other outdoor adventures throughout the year.

Athletics, arts, and extracurricular activities[edit]

The school sponsored 33 competitive athletic teams during the 2010-11 school year. Offerings include cross country, field hockey, golf, tennis, volleyball, basketball, swimming and diving, ice hockey, skiing and snowboarding, lacrosse, soccer, and track and field, in addition to the previously mentioned equestrian program and climbing and outdoor education programs.

Students interested in the performing arts can participate in any of the school's three annual productions, including the winter musical. The music program includes instruction in vocal and instrumental disciplines, with opportunities to participate in concerts, small ensemble performances and in statewide honor choirs and bands. The school also has a digital film studio.

The school's Bedford Gallery hosts two student art exhibits each year to showcase art such as painting, ceramics and jewelry making.


In 2010, FVS offered more than 70 courses, including 19 Advanced Placement courses. Courses include everything from AP Government to photography to a popular course devoted exclusively to the study of Shakespeare.

Every night, Sunday through Thursday, boarding students are required to attend study hall from 7-10 pm where they are required to attend to their work. The first hour is "closed study hour" where students work quietly and independently. After a half-hour break, the rest of study hall is "open" and students have the option of quiet study time, group study, project work or faculty meetings.

Student life[edit]

Students live in four residence halls that are composed of 10 houses (five boys' and five girls' houses). A house typically includes eight student rooms, a common area, kitchen and dining area, computer area, bathrooms and laundry facilities, as well as the houseparent's office and residence.

Two days in a six-day rotation, the students and all faculty and staff join in the Lewis Perry Jr. Chapel to attend "All-School," which is when announcements, events, and performances are made. Senior students have the opportunity to share a meaningful presentation with the community during this time as well.

Students also participate in the annual interim program, which occurs during the first week of spring break. Interims allow students to explore their passions through experiential education. Past interim programs have included trips to foreign nations, such as China, Israel, the Baja Peninsula, France, the Bahamas, Great Britain, and Peru, as well as domestic trips such as "The American Deep South" and "Photography in Canon de Chelly." All freshmen participate in a locally based interim, through which they explore Colorado's rich history in ranching, mining, and pioneering.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Lavender, David. G. "They Wrote Their Own Histories: Fountain Valley School's First Seventy Years." Fountain Valley School 2000.
  3. ^ Fountain Valley School of Colorado
  4. ^ Dunne, Dominick (March 1984). "Justice: A Father's Account Of the Trial Of His Daughter's Killer". Retrieved January 24, 2013. 

External links[edit]