Press Release: AUSD Opens $9.8M High School Addition




Contact: Julie Sen
(510) 558-3766
[email protected]  


February 3, 2020

Albany Unified School District Opens $9.8M High School Addition with Eight Modern Classrooms, Including a Design & Build Workshop

ALBANY, CA – The Albany Unified School District (AUSD) will celebrate the opening of the newly constructed Albany High School (AHS) Addition on February 8, 2020. This new 10,900 square foot, two-story classroom building adds eight large, modern classrooms to the school, including a double-high Design & Build Workshop. AHS Technology teacher Jeff Castle states, "I am excited that our new addition includes a 2,100 square foot Design & Build Workshop and adjacent computer lab. To me, the project ushers in a realistic and challenging vision of 21st Century Learning—one in which practical trade skills and core academics are not mutually exclusive. We have already created a University of California-approved course, Engineering & Design Principles, to take advantage of the new space. In just its second year, the pilot version of the class has twice as many sign-ups as it does room for enrollment. Indeed, the future looks bright for the dozens, if not hundreds, of Albany High Students who dream of—or perhaps don’t know about—careers in engineering, architecture and advanced manufacturing."

The new facility effectively utilizes the last expansion space available at the high school site. Designed through a highly collaborative process involving school design and construction professionals, teachers, administrators, and community members, the adaptable modern building has a small footprint, yet meets multiple needs. The Alten Construction/LCA Architects team creatively adapted areas adjacent to the project site, transforming the campus center. The redesigned courtyard, a favorite gathering place for students, provides much-needed large and small group spaces for learning and social activities. Principal Alexia Ritchie notes, "We are very grateful for the support from our Albany community with this critical need for educational space for our students to learn, explore, and thrive."

AUSD is a leader in setting high environmental standards for school buildings. The District has committed to the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) standards, the first green building rating program for K-12 schools. The AHS Addition is Net-Zero Energy Ready, electrically powered, and fitted to receive a 81kW solar photovoltaic array. The new classrooms have abundant natural light and ventilation. Environmentally-friendly wall and ceiling finishes, paints, and flooring, were used throughout to provide a healthy learning environment for students and staff. Bioswale plantings will absorb rainwater and reduce run-off while providing biological and engineering learning opportunities. The project will be submitted for CHPS verification, receipt of which guarantees that all of the project’s sustainability goals were met during the construction process.

Although the new addition is designed for permanent use as a high school facility, its first students will be much younger. The third, fourth, and fifth graders of Ocean View Elementary School (OVES) will use the AHS Addition as their temporary school while OVES is completely renovated and reconstructed. OVES will officially close on Feb. 14, 2020 and is scheduled to re-open as a flagship example of excellence in elementary school design in August 2021. The current school was built as a middle school in 1975, which has led to persistent challenges for teachers and students. OVES Principal Terryl Georgeson notes, "Our new building will be beautiful and exemplifies an ideal 21st century learning environment, with adjustable and changeable classroom features for all students to collaborate and work independently. Our new facility will make a difference for our kids, and we all are excited."

This move into the AHS Addition is the last step of Ocean View's temporary relocation plan. OVES kindergarteners were welcomed onto the campuses of Cornell and Marin Elementary Schools at the beginning of the 2019/20 school year. OVES first and second graders have been using a portion of the Albany Middle School Annex, which opened in June 2019, as their temporary school. Classes will begin at the AHS Addition on February 22, 2020 for OVES third, fourth, and fifth graders, immediately after the District's mid-winter break.

The AHS Addition is funded entirely from school bond Measures B and E, which were passed by Albany voters in June 2016. It is the second project to be completed in a slate of four major school construction projects. The first project, the Albany Middle School Annex, was finished on schedule and under budget in June 2019. The AHS Addition continues that record of success--it was completed in less than a year while maintaining a high standard of quality construction. The final project will be rebuilding Marin Elementary School, now in the final stages of the design process.

All are welcome to the Grand Opening of the new Albany High School Addition on February 8, 2020, 1:30 pm, 603 Key Route Boulevard, Albany, CA. Join community leaders, teachers, administrators, staff, LCA Architects, Alten Construction, Inc., and students from both Ocean View Elementary and Albany High School to celebrate the opening of this valuable new facility. Programs include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, open house, and self-guided tours.