SANTA ROSA — With rising enrollment and limited space, the faculty at the popular Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts at 756 Humboldt St. knew they needed a larger kindergarten through eighth grade campus years ago.
While half the funds to cover the nearly $9 million cost of a campus upgrade were available — including local funds and a $5.1 million state grant or loan — California’s financial shortfall put the project on hold.
However, the passage of a $54 million Santa Rosa City Schools facilities bond in November 2014 provided the matching funding needed to complete the project.
Today construction workers are putting finishing touches on a cluster of new buildings, while simultaneously making upgrades to existing classrooms, to provide space for the current 360 expected to grow to 430 in the future.
Before Midstate Construction could begin work, students and teachers had to be relocated temporarily to classrooms at the nearby Lewis Opportunity School campus on Lomitas Avenue, where they will remain until the revitalized campus is finished.
Several former campus buildings were demolished to make way for new facilities designed by Steve Kwok and Kevin Chapin with Quattrocchi Kwok Architects. These additions will allow for the expansion of a successful arts-based curriculum by creating new visual arts studios, a black box theatrical classroom/theater, a music room and a dance studio.
The existing stage in the multipurpose room is now nearly double in size so that more complex and sophisticated performances can be produced. The multipurpose room will be joined to the dance studio by a covered walkway.
When the upgrade is finished, the original Fremont School building on the site will be the only vestige of the former campus to remain.
A more spacious administration building is also nearing completion. It will house a resource specialist’s classroom, the principal’s office as well as conference and staff rooms. A green buffer zone and play space was also part of the new design.
Dedicated middle-school science labs, a visual arts studio and digital arts lab — along with eight other classrooms — will be provided for seventh- and eighth-grade students to support a more robust science program. These learning centers will be located in a two-story building on the east side of the campus along Orchard Street.
According to Steve Kwok, the new structures were designed to blend with the neighborhood, in contrast to the windowless back walls of portable classroom buildings that once lined Orchard Street. The new buildings feature bay windows, landscaping and other architectural features to enhance campus curb appeal and student learning.
Santa Rosa Charter School for the Arts
COST: $8.8 Million
ARCHITECT: Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA)
FINANCING: A $5.1 million state grant and loan, local funds, and a portion of the Santa Rosa City Schools $54 million Facilities Bond passed in 2014
COMPLETED: Summer 2017