New Building Hopes to Prepare Students for the Future

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — It’s an expensive summer for Santa Monica High School. The school is currently under construction with a $55 million, 97,000-square-foot Science and Technology Building, which will replace two existing and outdated facilities with one modern facility.

The funding is being provided by Santa Monica-Malibu School District’s Measure BB bond initiative. Not only does the bond cover the new Science and Technology Building, but it also helps pay for other additions throughout campus, including a new parking lot, vehicular access ramp, a 50-space bicycle parking area and Centennial Plaza, which will act as the main-entrance plaza intended for student gatherings.

Tempe, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction, Inc. is working on the projects at Santa Monica High School, and has plans to install energy-efficient features to help save the school energy costs as well as promote a sustainable environment for students. The school will feature improved daylighting and indoor air quality, natural ventilation, reduced water use and minimize storm water treatment. Also, with a boom in technology-related jobs throughout the country, the new building hopes to provide a home for technology learning at the high school.

“The size and complexity of the Santa Monica High School project aligns with our core experience in executing education projects that enrich the learning experience for students of all ages,” said Ken Iacuaniello, senior project manager for Sundt in a statement. “We take pride in knowing that the work we are doing on the Science and Technology Building will provide a launching point for students as they prepare for college and careers in a very competitive job market.”

The Science and Technology Building will feature a modern looking, steel-frame design with reinforced concrete decks ascending three levels from the ground, according to a statement by Sundt. The new building will provide students and staff with additional classrooms, science and computer laboratories, an automotive shop, administration offices and conference rooms.

The construction began back in December 2011, and although construction is currently running through the summer months, students will soon be stepping back on campus to begin their fall semester — and construction workers will still busy at work. In order to provide fewer distractions, Sundt and the Santa Monica Unified School District have been working together to provide students a safe and calm environment throughout the project.

“Sundt and Santa Monica Unified School District is committed to minimize the disruption from the construction project to students and staff,” said Iacuaniello. “We are limiting the impact of construction with a campus security fence to protect the students and have put up sound walls to reduce noise levels for classrooms and neighbors.”

The construction is moving along on schedule, as crewmembers are following design plans by Playa Del Ray, Calif.-based, R.L. Binder, FAIA Architecture and Planning. All the current construction projects at the school are slated for completion in 2014, just in time to celebrate 100 years at the school’s location on Prospect Hill in Santa Monica, Calif.