First Phase of Innovative K-12 Campus Opens in Silicon Valley

The Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) recently celebrated the opening of the LPA-designed Abram Agnew Elementary School and Dolores Huerta Middle School, the first phase of an innovative, all-in-one K-12 campus focused on student-centric learning environments.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by a wide variety of local stakeholders, including Senator Bob Wieckowski as well as labor organizer and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, the middle school’s namesake.

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The Agnews campus combines elementary, middle and high schools on a historic 55-acre site in San Jose, California. The schools share a common aesthetic, but are differentiated by scale and school colors inspired by age appropriateness and historical context. Kathleen MacDonald High School, the final phase of the campus, is scheduled to complete in time for the 2022-2023 school year.

All three school designs feature flexible learning environments that align with SCUSD’s 2035 plan to “prepare students for the ever-changing world.”

“These schools are many years in the making, and we are honored to have collaborated with the district and Swinerton, our construction partner, to bring them to life,” said David Eaves, studio director at LPA. “The campus will support the academic and social growth of students for generations.”

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At the ceremony, Huerta praised the design of the schools, while emphasizing the importance of an education that addresses climate change, racial discrimination and wealth inequality.

“I know what all of us are thinking: I wish I could’ve gone to this school,” Huerta said.

Each building in the complex features collaborative learning areas that support the educational and social needs of students, as they move from one school to the next. Blended amenities, indoor-outdoor areas and adaptable technology provide optimal learning environments, while enabling students to connect with each other and other age groups, encouraging mentorship.

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“When you visit our classrooms, you will find spaces that rival those of our neighbors in Silicon Valley,” SCUSD Superintendent Dr. Stella M. Kemp said. “Places where people collaborate, develop solutions to real-world problems… and develop the mindset and skills to be resilient and future leaders in our community.”