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October 17, 2018

Thrive School Opens in Linda Vista

Maxine Ward

It's always a great time of year when the kids head back to school - especially for the parents!

This year was even sweeter for Studio E Principal, Maxine Ward and her son Rowan, as he got to attend the school his Mom had been working on for the past couple of years - Thrive Public School. This 35,000 sf public charter school in the Linda Vista neighborhood of San Diego houses not only 500 K-8 students, but provides community gathering space for the Bayside Community Center, which formerly occupied the school site.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, held on September 14th, was a celebration of the many people who played a part in making this school a reality. None more so, than Highland Construction (the guys in the red shirts!) who worked overtime and weekends throughout the construction period to get the building complete and open for students to start school on time! After some intensive groundworks, foundations were laid in December 2017, leaving a mere 8 months for the construction of the two story building. Impressive!

As Thrive Founder & CEO Nicole Assisi stated at the ribbon cutting, “Offering quality education in a first-rate building in a disenfranchised neighborhood creates a sense of pride and is the starting point of community transformation.” Studio E Architects are proud to play a part in this revitalization!

Sited on a snug one acre parcel adjacent to Tecolote Canyon and at the heart of the Linda Vista community, Thrive Public School had to do a lot with not a lot. Destined to be an important player in the community, the new building had to strike a civic presence while balancing the safety and security needs of the students. The building proudly owns the street intersection with a welcoming porch that provides a gathering space for parents and for staff to greet students. The highly efficient building design nestles into the sloping site, leaving as much space as possible for outdoor play areas and allowing for two "ground" floors – one with access to the street corner and one to the protected playground. 

The flexible outdoor space was designed by LandLab Landscape Architects to serve all ages of students, with an area for ball games separated from the play structures and with natural learning areas, including a sand box and community garden boxes. The slope to the adjacent property was controlled and made useful by concrete amphitheater style seat walls.

The compact building plan organizes learning spaces around a central gallery with nooks for student lounges, walls for display and windows into the classrooms and through to the views beyond. Each classroom is paired with another via an eight-foot-wide opening with sliding barn doors. A shared collaboration space accessed from each classroom provides a flexible, break-out area for quiet learning or small group work.

A bright (orange!) open stair connects all three levels of the school and brings daylight into the bonus basement space, used for project-based learning activities. Each level of the school has access to exterior learning spaces, whether roof terrace or balcony or patio area.

Kudos to all involved in getting this project from design to completion in record time - including team members, MA Engineers, Michael Wall Engineering, Davido Consulting Group, Nova Geotechnical and Atlas Civil Design.

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