Project Update: Camarillo Academy High School Project

School concept phase.
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The Camarillo Academy High School Project is progressing at a tremendous pace, with both design and environmental impact report efforts making major strides. On December 4th, HMC Architects presented completed Design Development documents to the Steering Committee to enthusiastic committee endorsement and many compliments, confirming the vision and quality of this innovative and exciting academy concept.

The Steering Committee session confirmed and even continued the level refinement that is ongoing in the science and technology spaces. Passionate discussions took place, even here, between teachers in these key areas of study to reconcile classroom layouts and even furniture considerations so as to enrich the laboratory and learning environments and provide flexibility within the facility for a variety of science and technology curricula. Energetic contribution and intelligent compromise continue to be the cornerstone of this process.

Development of the performing and fine arts environments has progressed substantially. Working closely with acoustic and theatrical consultants and advisors, the architectural and engineering team is clearly creating a first class setting for learning, performance, production and appreciation of the artistic within our busy world. Technical spaces associated with the arts have seen the same level of activity and refinement. The Scene Shop, a fabrication area that will be key to performance arts, robotics and various types of technical prototyping and modeling, is clearly going to be an asset to both the school and community on a level that is something new within the area.

The creative process continues in the design of fine arts spaces, to include graphic arts, sculpture, ceramics and multi-media arts. A unique level of integration of the indoor with the outdoor environment into the artistic process promises a stimulating, even inspiring setting for learning to take place. Exterior landscape areas designed specifically for this purpose reinforce the innovation in this area.

Extensive core sampling and percolation tests have been completed throughout the proposed school site, to provide key engineering data to both our structural and civil engineers. Hazardous materials soil testing has been conducted throughout the school and adjacent sites, with unusually good results. The preliminary opinion of the engineers is that the site is essentially “clean” of hazardous materials, despite many years of agricultural operations. We await and anticipate concurrence from the State’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Recent notable events have included:

• Presentation of design documents to the Division of the State Architect for a preliminary review of code interpretation and to identify any potential issues, early on, that may need to be addressed in more detail as construction documents are completed.

• Presentation of a project overview and site design to the Agricultural Commissioner’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee to ensure the adequacy of provisions, within our design, to provide proper buffering between school activities and adjacent agricultural operations. While the “Ag” community tends to be wary of new school development, no deficiencies in our design approach were identified, in our effort to be compatible with adjacent uses.

• Educational Specifications for the project are in final refinement, preparatory to a January submittal to the California Department of Education for review and approval. We look forward to showing off educational and facility objectives that epitomize 21st Century Education. Energy conservation and high performance school considerations have not been lost amid the design momentum. California High Performance School calculations and data have continually been updated and are well positioned for submittal as part of Division of the State Architect submittal of plans in late January. In addition, funding awards to both the District and the Design Team have been confirmed through the State’s “Savings by Design” Program, administered by Southern California Edison Company.

Informational events will re-commence, once the holidays are behind us. Keep an eye out for notices of these events.

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