LAUSD Produces a Prototype for Small, Urban Schools

Oct. 13, 2009

The Nadel-designed William R. Anton Elementary School and Early Education Center, located in East Los Angeles, is the latest part of Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD) New School Construction and Modernization Program.

Nadel master planned the $94.9 million, 92,000-square-foot school on a 3.18-acre parcel that had been called “unbuildable.” The site is severely sloped, which necessitated a vertical campus that ranges from two to four levels.

“The site truly dictated the design,” says Michael Walden, director of design for Nadel Architects. “We staggered trays of play areas, letting the physical separations work for us. Now, there are distinct zones for preschool, kindergarten, and the upper grades.”

The play decks were able to accommodate a mini track, playground equipment, and turf that would not have fit on the site with horizontal construction. Now that it’s complete, the 3-story building is being used as a LAUSD prototype for small, urban schools with 50 to 60 classrooms.

Anton Elementary School will serve up to 1,176 students in kindergarten through fifth grade with 51 classrooms, a library, a multi-purpose room, food service and an outdoor lunch area, an administration building, and underground parking. The Early Childhood Education Center has room for an additional 176 students.

“Beyond providing much-needed facilities for children, this site also continues our mission of sustainable schools,” says LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive Guy Mehula. “We know that building green is good for students and teachers, it’s good for reducing utility costs, it’s good for the environment, and it’s good for the future.”

The school meets Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) standards; sustainable design elements and strategies help achieve the “Savings by Design” energy performance goal, which is 30 percent below the California efficiency standards mandated in Title 24. As part of this effort, Nadel used passive solar shading devices extensively throughout the exterior design to cut down on energy consumption.

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