SoCal High School Wraps $8M Modernization Effort

By SCN Staff

SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY, Calif.—El Toro High School’s modernization for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District is now complete.

HMC Architects was the architect for this $8 million project. Balfour Beatty served as general contractor. The project features a 7,000-square-foot library modernization, 16,700-square-foot classroom building modernization, and a 2,000-square-foot demonstration classroom addition.

To relieve a densely overcrowded facility and create more classroom space, HMC Architects designed a future-focused learning environment that offers both students and teachers a variety of curriculum delivery opportunities and options for greater collaboration. Existing classrooms were reorganized around a commons area accessible to all passively encouraging students and teachers to interact.

This district pilot project is changing long-established norms on how teachers view ownership of classrooms thereby increasing the capacity of the campus without building a magnitude of new classrooms on an existing campus.

The school’s existing library was renovated into a modern media innovation center consistent with the premise of flexibility, opportunity, and driven by technology. A new entry gateway was designed, and the parking lot was modified for safety.

The design of the lecture demonstration space addition and media innovation center considers potential active shooter considerations. Passive safety measures, such as angled walls and functional window heights, to keep students safe have been implemented.