December 8, 2011, marked the official ribbon-cutting and opening ceremonies for a newly opened high school in the southern most region of our nation’s second largest pre K-12 public school system. Formally known as South Region High School #4, Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School (RDPS) welcomed the first middle through high school students to the newly completed 1800 student college and career preparatory school.
LAUSD’s Planning and Design team led by Guy Mahula wanted a design team that not only specialized in educational facilities design development, the district wanted a learning environment that challenged the status quo and encouraged learning at all levels in an environment that supported project-based learning. The District, the community and the Design Team worked with one another to achieve the desired results in a completed school that embraces learning, encourages conversation, observation and participation as part of learning.
The 4-story building complex, over underground parking, serves 1800 students in 272,106 square feet. The campus is organized to create and serve the Small Learning Community (SLC) concept. A unique ground level facility is the “Great Room”, which was developed as a multi-use and joint-use space to accommodate dance, wrestling, basketball and performing arts. The room has a stage and back of house support facilities attached to a 3-court gymnasium, and is organized to allow 1/2 of the gym floor to become stepped theater-style seating on pull-out bleachers. The gymnasium converts into a seating area that can accommodate 1,200 spectators at once.
Incorporated into the design are four learning academies specific to the Long Beach and Carson communities. A Law, Government, and Public Service academy; an Engineering, Technology and Design Academy; Freshmen Success Academy; and a Middle School Global Studies Academy. The school is designated as a college and career preparatory school. The school’s mission is to provide all students with a high-quality, rigorous academic program, featuring best first instruction coupled with high expectations, to ensure all students graduate college-prepared and career-ready.
tBP’s Planning Process consisted of representatives of the District from real estate, design and planning, finance, facilities and construction management. The planning group worked as a team to develop the design which was presented at key milestones to independent design consultants, District personnel, school administrators, and to the community at evening meetings. This process led the planning group to establish key goals and relationships which manifested themselves directly into the design.
Community Environment: Specific effort was paid to meet with the cities of Carson and Long Beach (the site borders both cities), to coordinate efforts to provide as much community access as possible. The Facility is organized to take advantage of the adjacent pool and parkland by placing the main gym as a bridge to the community. Athletic fields surround the building complex and link continuously with the adjacent City of Carson’s Dominguez Park which through a joint use agreement, will accommodate a practice field and tennis. The campus has a track and football/soccer stadium that is positioned as far away as practical from the neighborhood housing. Both fields are lit for evening play, and accessible from the Dominguez Park and from Santa Fe Avenue.
Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School exceeds the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) requirements. Features include: energy performance is 22.61% better than 2005 Title 24; water usage is a 20% reduction; energy commissioning occurred to ensure energy goals were met; percentage of materials with recycled content; controlled day lighting and expansive views.
• Light Pollution Reduction: Campus Site lighting does not trespass into the night sky.
• Water Efficient Landscaping: Plantings requiring little watering were used.
• Low-Emitting Materials: Project employed low VOC paints and coatings.
• Acoustic Performance: Learning spaces were isolated with rated walls and analyzed for acoustic performance.
• Site is not agriculture land, flood zone, habitat, wetland or parkland.
• Recycled content interior finishes.
• Energy Star compliant cool roofing.
• Construction Pollution: A storm water management plan was followed during construction.
• Storm Water Design: Storm water runoff is collected and treated onsite.
• Heat Island effect: Concrete roofing was used to limit heat island effect.
• Recycled water: Irrigation systems use recycled water
• Water Use reduction: Fixture selection per code and waterless urinals: +/-20% reduction
• Energy Commissioning: Mechanical systems were commissioned to ensure proper operation.
• Energy Performance: 22.6% better than 2005 T-24
• Measurement and verification: Andover Energy management systems were installed to enhance energy savings.
• Day lighting and Views: All student occupied spaces have windows to enhance connection to the outside.
• Third party building commissioning.
• Energy management system.
• Occupancy sensors, programmable timers and day lighting controls.
• Erosion controls and sediment/waste collectors.
• Recycled content interior finishes.
• Ducted air-return system.
• The skylights and clerestory windows borrowed natural light into covered canopied areas and lunch shelter.
Client: Los Angeles Unified School District
Services Provided: Master Planning, Programming, Design and Architecture
Project Location: Long Beach, CA
Site: 13.7 Acres
Project Size: 272,106 sf (Total School)
Capacity: 1,809 Students
Completion Date: May 2011
Contractor: Suffolk-Roel Construction
Sustainability: Exceeds CHPS Guidelines
Functions: Complete HS – 67 Classrooms/4 Learning Communities, Gymnasium/Physical Education, Food Service, Library/Media Center, Administration, Performing Arts/Multi-Purpose Complex, ,Stadium Building, Covered Areas and Under Ground Parking