This new 800-student elementary school reflects both traditional and contemporary Spanish-style architecture. The off-white stucco exterior, terra-cotta tile roofs and arched windows are a distillation of the Spanish style. Scale, color, light and geometric form are creatively used to add contemporary motifs, such as at the entry and the rounded wall of the library, located at the school’s hub.
Security was a challenging component that was solved with innovative design applications. An open and inviting presence to the neighborhood was balanced with security and crime prevention. Opaque classroom windows at base level maximize natural light while blocking immediate distractions. Half the schoolyard can be gated, acting as a deterrent to after-hours vandalism. Parking is in a secured lot located next to the plaza.
A parent room on the ground floor of the academic wing was created to further strengthen the parent/school/community relationship. A dedicated gym, a unique feature for an elementary school, provides strong after-school programs. The gym, conference room, library and computer/multi-media center each have separate campus and community entrances for joint use opportunities.
The design exceeds Title 24 requirements, with natural lighting reducing energy consumption. A wood structure was chosen because of the community’s skilled local trade in wood construction and carpentry, thus extending the sustainable design into the community. Local wood is used both structurally and as a recurring decorative motif by incorporating specially engineered wood products, used to create deep window reveals, similar to those found in adobe construction, and creates an interesting focal point when used for ceiling beams.