OUHSD moves forward with new high school

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The Oxnard Union High School District board of trustees chose Los Angelesbased HMC Architects/School Advisors to design the new magnet high school and performing arts center on the above 77-acre property next to the Camarillo Library on Las Posas Road. © Tiffany israel/OUHSD
The Oxnard Union High School District board of trustees has chosen an architect to design the new magnet high school and performing arts center on a 77-acre property next to the Camarillo Library on Las Posas Road.

The vote was made during last week’s board meeting in Oxnard.

District staff will negotiate a contract with Los Angeles-based HMC Architects/School Advisors, the firm handling the high school design.

There were originally 29 architecture firms that applied for the project, said Randy Winton, assistant superintendent of business services. A 17-person ad hoc committee made up of district staff and community members narrowed the list of applicants to five.

The list was eventually trimmed to three firms, which presented their plans and ideas to the selection committee. The committee made the final recommendation to the board of trustees.

HMC was chosen because it had the most employees dedicated to the project, Winton said. The firm has 19 employees assigned to the project, he said.

The architecture firm also brought on a food consultant and landscape architect to help design a cafeteria and the school’s grounds.

“This was important because we really try to do a good job in getting the school to be attractive and low maintenance,” Winton said.

The school will initially house 500 students but will be designed for an eventual capacity of 2,250.

“We have a long-term vision for the site,” said Kate Diamond, a principal with the firm. “But we will also make this a meaningful place that will gracefully grow as expansion is justified.”

Diamond said the architecture firm will connect the school and performing arts center with the library so all three buildings will become one large community resource.

The board of trustees approved the magnet high school in February, a decision that reversed a vote by the former school board late last year to spend $40 million on improvements at Adolfo Camarillo High School instead of building the new campus.

HMC has designed Hillcrest High School and a learning center for Alvord Unified School District in Riverside, and Edison School and Pacific Park for the Glendale Unified School District.

The board of trustees has yet to decide what the magnet school’s focus will be. Possibilities include arts, media and entertainment, engineering and design, and biomedical technology and services.

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