BCA Architects collaborated with Sweetwater Union High School District on a new master plan and gateway building at Sweetwater Union High School in response to, and juxtapose against, historic cues at the 89-year-old campus. BCA updated campus circulation and safety while consolidating academic and administration functions in the building. Placed at the campus’ edge, the new complex houses student services, classrooms, a library and a theater. The three-story building frees up needed open space at the campus center.
The planning and design of the project were overseen by a steering committee made up of residents, teachers, parents, fire and police representatives and school board members. The group met once a month to set the design direction. A smaller user group assisted with programming of the building.
Facing a main arterial street that runs across the city required a civic presence for the new building. Along the extended 430-foot façade, light pours in from the three-story atrium of a central tower, designed to echo the original building on site and marks the campus entrance; as a counterpoint, a transparent glass curtain wall wraps the 250-seat theater and classroom wings, maximizing daylight into the building.