El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, Calif. Courtesy WLC Architects.



El Cerrito High School, constructed on the site of the original high school, is a new campus consisting of six large buildings, enclosing a total area of 192,000 square feet. The innovative new campus is designed around a courtyard with a large cornerstone building housing administrative offices, a performing arts theater, and a library.

Academic and science classrooms are located in two three-story and one two-story structure and placed farther away from the street to minimize noise and distractions. The classrooms are separated into three wings to create smaller, more personal communities, with additional teachers’ work/conference rooms to encourage interaction between students and teachers. Another large building accommodates the large and small gymnasiums, with adjacent ancillary spaces including dance rooms, weightlifting/wrestling areas, lockers, dressing rooms, a concession facility, and an enclosed space containing a cafeteria and sitting area. The performing arts theater seats 600 and includes full theatrical stage rigging.

All buildings are steel framed with stucco, CMU veneer, and glazed exterior stud walls. The structures are situated on a hillside with one-story building retaining walls, site retaining walls, steps, terraces, and landscaping. The site was laid out to deal with potential landslide areas at one corner of the site.

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