Ground Breaks on Unique New High School in Malibu

By Eric Althoff

MALIBU, Calif.—C.W. Driver Companies has commenced the first phase of its work on the $110 million construction project at Malibu High School, an educational institution that falls under the umbrella of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). The new school will be built upon the site of the former Juan Cabrillo Elementary School.

The first phase includes constructing a 70,000-square-foot building that will house a library, performing arts classrooms, multipurpose rooms, STEM classrooms, administrative offices and cafeteria. As designed by NAC Architecture, the two-story building will feature an open breezeway that is fashioned of copper-clad and concrete walls.

The exterior design calls for common areas for the high school’s students that will be shaded by an overhead canopy. Photovoltaic panels will help generate power from Southern California’s ample sunlight and aid in the project’s goals of energy conservation as well. C.W. Driver was able to source panels that would fit in with the roof steel trellis.

Prior to engaging in new buildout, C.W. Driver and its team also must demolish nine older buildings at the jobsite, totaling removal of 38,853 square feet of older construction. This preconstruction and demolition had to be executed while the plans for the new buildings were still being approved by the Division of the State Architect (DSA) so that the project timeline could be completed on time.

Subcontractors working with C.W. Driver and NAC Architecture include Koning Eizenberg Architecture, AMPCO North, California Solar Integrators, Inc., Hunsaker and Associates, and Pfeiler & Associates Engineers.

“C.W. Driver has the dedicated skill set and many years in school construction required for a project of this scope,” said Karl Kreutziger, President of C.W. Driver Companies. “Our extensive experience spans over 150 K-12 projects for more than 23 different school districts, totaling close to $2.2 billion worth of construction over the past 30 years. Having the opportunity to work on this project for SMMUSD is a perfect fit for us and our capabilities.”

In a subsequent statement to School Construction News, C.W. Driver Project Executive David L. Amundson said that because the Pacific Coast Highway is the main point of entry for large trucks to access the smaller streets leading up to the job site, moving 19,000 cubic yards of materials up to the construction site through various neighborhoods on roads that branch off of PCH had to be handled delicately. Furthermore, ongoing supply chain issues have been a concern amid the aggressive construction schedule.

“The design includes building a new bus drop-off location around existing large, specimen trees that will require relocating the existing access road to the upper campus,” added Amundson. “The new access road goes around the perimeter of the new building and must be coordinated to take place so that there is no interrupted access to the upper campus from Morning View Drive.”

Measure M, passed by Malibu voters in 2018, is assisting with the funds for the project.

“We are excited to begin construction of the new Malibu High School,” said SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Antonio Shelton. “This school will allow our students to have an educational experience that encourages exploration, project-based learning and the importance of collaboration.

“Our students will have classrooms that are safe, conducive to learning, and large enough to facilitate instructional practices that are cutting-edge.”