Campus Renovations

California K–12 District Debuts Reconstructed High School

The Mendocino Unified School District (MUSD) in Mendocino, Calif., recently completed a renovation and modernization project on Mendocino High School, according to a news release. The “near-total reconstruction” included updates to educational and student spaces, energy conservation, and the incorporation of all-electric features to be paired with renewable energy sources in future phases. The district partnered with architecture firm Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA), builders Lathrop Construction Associates, and construction management services from Donald Alameida, the news release reports.

The campus was originally built in the 1940s, and the “down-to-the-studs” modernization replaced fossil-fuel-powered equipment like diesel boilers and propane water heaters with electric heat pumps, as well as a gas-powered kitchen with electric cooking surfaces and ovens. The next phase of construction will entail on-site solar panels and a batter backup system. The building also features wall and roof insulation, double-glazed windows, and modern roofing materials to help regulate indoor temperatures.

“We are delighted that beyond meeting essential educational and environmental criteria, the redesign of the building gave us a campus that blends beautifully into the townscape of our historic community,” said Tobin Hahn, MHS Principal. “The ideals that have exemplified Mendocino High School through the decades—collaboration, relationships, diverse academic offerings and surrounding natural beauty—were all incorporated into the redesign. We are grateful to our thoughtful, creative project team for delivering a school that will embody these ideals into the future.”

Phase 1 of the project cost $15 million and was funded through Measure H, which voters passed in 2020. Renovations included the addition of active learning environments with breakout spaces; new data systems and upgraded technology; connection to outdoor learning environments; two new science labs; a new Student Union building; and a new kitchen, the news release reports.

“This is the most significant MHS campus improvement project since 1940, and it holds particular meaning for me as a former student and district architect since 1989,” said Mark Quattrocchi, FAIA, Founding principal of QKA Architects and Mendocino High School alumnus. “I applaud the district—and the community’s tax-payers—for prioritizing climate-saving technologies and design features. This, coupled with inspired learning spaces that will benefit students’ educational experiences for decades to come, makes MHS a true passion project for all involved.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].