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Superintendent: 'I can just see people gathering ... it will be a boon' to city

[caption id="attachment_22132" align="alignright" width="301" caption="Aerial view (above) and rendering (below) of American Canyon High School"][/caption]

Project name: American Canyon High School

Project address: Newell Drive and American Canyon Road

General contractor: Lathrop Construction, Benicia

Architect: Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, Santa Rosa

Landscape Architect: Gretchen Stranzl McCann, Santa Rosa

Mechanical engineering: Costa Engineers, Santa Rosa

Civil engineering: Chaudhary & Associates, Napa

Structural engineering: ZFA Structural Engineers, Santa Rosa

Electrical engineering: O'Mahony & Myer, Santa Rosa

Project cost: $121 million

NAPA – After more than five years of environmentally sensitive planning, design and construction, American Canyon High School, set to open this fall, was dedicated Friday by the Napa Valley Unified School District.

The $121 million project is the largest public building complex in American Canyon and was designed with the students and their education as well as the community in mind.

Barbara Nemko is the superintendent of the Napa County Office of Education. She said she is most excited about the school bringing the community together.

“I know that the members of the community need this face of American Canyon,” she said. “Not having to send the students off to another city will be great. And I can just see people gathering together at football games and the like. This will be a great boon for American Canyon.”

The school, designed by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects in Santa Rosa, is the first school in California built under the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, the United States' first green building rating program for K-12 schools.

“The construction of American Canyon High School brings the latest technologies and green operating features together at one site. Incorporating green efforts into the learning environment of a high school rich with technological amenities from which students will participate and witness our changing world is a very positive educational experience,” said Don Evans of the Napa Valley Unified School District planning and construction department.

The project consists of seven two-story buildings for administration offices, library, theater, multi-use rooms, classrooms, a split-level gym, locker rooms, student store, aquatic center with swimming pool, two storage buildings, football/soccer stadium complex, two concession stands, two baseball fields, two softball fields, two soccer fields and outdoor tennis and basketball courts.

There will be day lighting in every classroom, which not only saves energy but promotes a better living environment, said Aaron Jobson, the project architect.

“There are automatic lighting controls, so as soon as there is enough light from the outside, the lights will turn off,” he said.

The gym has day lights as does the multipurpose room. The school also will have a ground source heat pump.

There are a number of water-saving features including low-flow fixtures, dual-flush toilets and waterless urinals. And all fields are irrigated with reclaimed water.

“It will use about half the potable water of a typical high school,” said Mr. Jobson.

There will be 200 bike rack spaces—bicycle parking for 10 percent of students.

Mr. Jobson said that in addition to the sustainable features, he is proud of the public parts of the project.

The theater on campus was going to seat 250, but the city came in and partially funded it, and now it will seat 400.

“And the gym, aquatic center, stadium and field will all be accessible to the community,” he said.

That was part of the design of the school. The athletic fields are in the front of the site to give it a public presence and to make it easily accessible.

The design also had the students' education pathways in mind.

“It will be pathways to career-driven education,” said Ms. Nemko. “We want our students understanding why they are learning things. If a student wants to be an engineer, they need to understand geometry or the building will fall down. There will be none of this, ‘Why do I need to know that?’ going on.”

There are four buildings on campus for the four pathways programs, and they face a central courtyard to create a sense of community.

“We wanted the environment to reflect that,” Mr. Jobson said. “The design was inspired by the vision of the school.”