About 300 people were evacuated from Fountain Valley School after a bomb threat Tuesday afternoon, and a school employee and a juvenile were facing multiple charges after the device was found and rendered safe.
Bryan S. Bolding, 46, the school's information technology director for the past three years, was booked with his 16-year-old accomplice on felony charges including terrorist training activities, conspiracy, attempting to influence a public servant, possession and use of a hoax incendiary device and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, as well as charges of reckless endangerment, child abuse without injury and several counts of felony menacing.
A regional bomb squad was performing a final sweep of the school after 8 p.m., said Jacqueline Kirby, spokeswoman for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
Also responding to the upscale private boarding school in the Security-Widefield area were a mobile command post, SWAT team, tactical medical unit and Sheriff's Office investigators.
"We realized (this) was a pretty credible threat almost immediately, thus the large response," Kirby said.
Students and staff members were evacuated to a nearby church after the threat was made at 3:10 p.m. but were given the "all clear" to return at about 9:30 p.m., says a school statement issued through spokeswoman Laura Fawcett.
"The campus has been 'swept' and is ready for school to resume. We anticipate returning to normal operations tomorrow," the statement read.
"Head of School Will Webb would like to express his appreciation to all of the students, faculty and staff for their calm and disciplined behavior. The evacuation of campus was efficient and effective. Additionally, the entire school community thanks the El Paso County Sheriff's Department for their professionalism in keeping everyone safe and bringing this situation to a rapid conclusion."
The private, independent college preparatory school serves about 235 students in ninth through 12th grades on its 1,100-acre central campus at 6155 Fountain Valley School Road.
The school has 153 students living on the campus, its website says. Tuition this year is $53,860 for boarding students, $53,900 for international boarding students and $28,800 for day students.
One Fountain Valley School student made The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2017 list. Isabella Nuñez was inspired after visiting India to volunteer with Colorado Springs Food Rescue, and the dining hall staff now sets aside food to be donated to groups in need.
Fountain Valley School junior Will Edelson won first place at the Colorado Poetry Out Loud in March and was heading to the national competition in Washington, D.C., this month. Last year, Fountain Valley School student David Cendon Garcia also won that state competition.
Toni Olivieri-Barton, a library technology teacher at the school, has been featured in a book on global educators for her work connecting Fountain Valley School students with their peers around the world.
Hannah Carrese, a 2012 FVS graduate, is one of 32 Americans chosen from 882 applicants to be Rhodes Scholars this year, doing post-graduate studies program at Oxford University in England.
Fountain Valley School was founded in 1929 by Elizabeth Sage Hare with help from Colorado Springs philanthropist Spencer Penrose. Hare bought the Lazy B Ranch from Jack Bradley for $150,000 in November 1929 and opened it as a boarding school for boys in September 1930.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article referred to Bryan Bolding as a teacher. He is the school's director of information technology.
Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198