Montgomery Middle School
El Cajon, California
Damaged school revitalized to enrich entire community
Montgomery Middle School is an important community center for Chula Vista, California, providing vital extra-curricular and elective programs, clubs and support groups, and a health and wellness partnership with the YMCA. Part of the original 1970s campus suffered from prolonged water damage, displacing classrooms and gathering spaces into temporary modular units. As a result, the school district accelerated the replacement and technological upgrading of these outdated facilities.
The new design re-envisioned the school as a two-story beacon of learning for the neighborhood and an uplifting place that is attractive to tech-savvy students. The new building includes 18 classrooms, a library and media center, a community-building cafeteria and a student counseling center. A homework center is open before and after school. Only five miles from the Pacific Ocean, the school emphasizes outdoor amenities, such as an expansive covered courtyard and flexible areas for classes and informal learning. Environmental graphics as a teaching tool help boost student awareness and pride in their school.
The design, which earned LEED Platinum certification, is built on an east-west axis to maximize daylighting, minimize heat gain and allow for natural ventilation. An innovative HVAC system installed in outdoor mechanical yards frees up roof space for photovoltaic arrays, while a bioswale filters and releases storm water into the ground, so water damage will never again plague the school.