IRVINE, CALIF. – July 26, 2021 – LPA Design Studios’ research-based approach to K-12 school design was recently honored with two awards in K-12 educational facility design from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH).

At this year’s conference on school facilities, judges recognized LPA with awards of honor in the new built category for Corona-Norco Unified School District’s Eastvale STEM Academy (eSTEM) in Eastvale, California and in the master planning category for the Encinitas Union School District facilities master plan in Encinitas, California.

Founded in 1987, CASH is a California organization representing school facility professionals dedicated to developing quality, safe and healthy schools. The group’s annual awards are one of the highest honors for school design in the state.

In total, LPA has earned 42 Coalition for Adequate School Housing awards — more than any other firm.

“CASH looks not only at the design of the buildings, but at how the facility helps further the educational experience,” LPA design director Kate Mraw says. “We share a focus on informed design and creating facilities that foster learning and success.”

LPA takes an informed, student-centric approach to K-12 school design. An integrated firm with architects, engineers, interior designers and landscape architects, it is one of the few firms with an in-house research team, LPAred, which helps ensure projects reflect the needs of educators, staff and students.

eSTEM is a three-story campus with learning environments designed to prepare students for work in the real world. LPA designed eSTEM around an open courtyard, with a multi-layered series of connected colabs and flexible indoor-outdoor learning spaces that promote creative thinking. The design focused on collaboration, access, partnership and flexibility, creating learning studios that support multiple teaching modalities.

“The vibrant interiors and courtyard contribute to a positive student experience,” jurors noted. “If I was in high school, I would be excited to walk into this building.”

A post-occupancy evaluation of eSTEM conducted by LPAred nine months after the school opened found many of the design features promoted a sense of campus connectedness, which can improve user experience and learner performance. In the first class to go through eSTEM, 100% graduated and 96% continued their education in a four-year university or two-year college.

LPA designed the Encinitas Union School District facilities master plan around the district’s four pillars of distinction: academic excellence, 21st century learning, health and wellness and environmental stewardship. Designed with extensive input from students, teachers, staff and parents, it focuses on enrichment program spaces, outdoor learning, student support services and libraries to improve the educational experience.

“This is an impressive master plan that is closely connected to the district’s educational mission,” jurors said.

In addition to participating in the awards program each year, LPA regularly supports emerging professionals through the CASH Academy leadership training and team members have served on the planning committee.

“We are honored to receive this recognition alongside our clients from eSTEM and Encinitas Union School District,” says Mraw. “These awards illustrate that a collaborative, integrated process can produce better results.”

About LPA Design Studios

Founded in 1965, LPA specializes in creating innovative environments that work better, do more with less and improve people’s lives. An integrated design firm with six locations in California and Texas, LPA’s team includes more than 400 in-house architects, master planners, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and research analysts, working across a wide array of sectors. For more information, visit lpadesignstudios.com.