San Marcos Double Peak K-8 San Marcos, California
The new Double Peak K8 school is the first of its kind for the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD). The new campus consists of a 15,000 square foot gymnasium, 17,000 square foot multi-purpose and kitchen building, two-story 20,500 square foot administration building, 27,000 square foot science and library building, and a 40,400 square foot classroom building. The school was constructed to hold a maximum of 1,500 hundred students; a number calculated to accommodate the growth of the San Elijo community. The campus includes a library, Innovative Room, MPR (Multi-Purpose Room), gym and locker room, band room, K-5 music room, art room, science lab flex lab, and student collaboration center. The buildings are a combination of tilt-up concrete construction, concrete masonry, and exterior framing.
The site work on the project was extensive due to the steep slopes and rock encountered over the 36 acres. The slope dictated the construction of a 1,200 foot Verdura Segmental Retaining Wall that reached a maximum height of 66 feet. The grading operation on the project took several months due to rocky soils that required blasting.
SMUSD has emphasized several program requirements that determined the overall scope and has influenced the design decisions:
• The desire for this K-8 campus to function and be perceived by the community as a single K-8 community.
• Address the challenges to vehicular access and minimize the impact to public roads.
• Provide highly efficient design approach.
• Create a distinctive center to the campus.
• Create a single entry, a “front door”, to the campus.
• Good security surveillance and control of the entire school site.
• Excellent interior acoustic performance.
• Create outdoor learning opportunities
Located at the precipice of San Elijo Road where it meets (or transitions into) Twin Oaks Valley Road, the new school is a beacon for the area. The building is considered a landmark along this route and speaks to the community as being accessible and community-friendly. The institutional aspects of the school are communicated through massing, scale, and materials. Concrete, blended CMU and stucco materials are used on the project to make the school feel at home with the surrounding community. This is balanced with a level of transparency and landscape to make the school feel at home with the surrounding hillside homes and open space.
The district’s philosophy of “one school” will be reinforced with the idea of a single entry, or “front door”, to the campus where all the students come onto the campus. Although there are significant drop-off areas and separate parking lots where the students can be dropped off by age, all the students will come together as they enter into the quad through a single campus portal.
A very important part of an education is developing social skills and learning how to get along with others. By creating a quad area where the daily school life is centered, we have provided the background for this development to occur. Within the quad will be areas for both structured gatherings, such as the Flag Ceremony or lunch period, as well as unstructured time, socialization, art, physical activities, etc. Various levels, landscape nooks, and a large lunch shelter will be provided to promote these types of activities.
Client: San Marcos Unified School District
Architect: HMC Architects
Building Area: 110,000 sf