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CASH: The Oscars of California School Architecture

By rveturis
May 2, '11 3:24 PM EST
The Career Technical Education “Green” Construction and Transportation Academy at South Tahoe High School.
The Career Technical Education “Green” Construction and Transportation Academy at South Tahoe High School.

CASH: The Oscars of California School Architecture

LPA shines with two, standout wins


(SACRAMENTO, CA) February 23, 2011 – California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) pronounced winners for its Excellence in Design Awards. If you’re involved with K-12 school design, in any capacity, the CASH Awards are tantamount to the Oscars, which happen to be this Sunday at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Instead of recognizing professionals in the film industry, the CASH Awards recognize the architectural merit of schools in California, with special emphasis on design solutions that creatively meet educational program needs.


California-based Design Firm LPA Inc. received two CASH Awards for their design work at South Tahoe High School, in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and Newport Harbor High School, in Newport Beach, Calif.


For Lake Tahoe Unified School District, LPA put together a District Facilities Master Plan – followed by the design of four different buildings. First to be completed, was the $12.5 million Career Technical Education (CTE) “Green” Construction and Transportation Academy. Second, was a $12 million Overcrowded Relief Grant (ORG) funded classroom building. To be finished in September, the $13 million Tahoe Arts and Design Academy. And lastly, a new Campus Commons Student Union and Sports Medicine Academy – to be up and running in 2012 and 2013, respectively.


“[The work at South Tahoe High School] is a very effective use of multiple funding sources and a very good conceptual use of career-tech education money … The design is protective of the Tahoe environment, which is an area that’s difficult to build in,” said the Jury Panel. “[Designers] made an interesting use of landscapes, and the shop spaces are incredible.”


The facilities at South Tahoe High School provide the kind of secondary education opportunities the jury noted, they would like to see more of. “Not only are the programmatic elements there, but it really speaks to career trajectories for young people. It’s just beautiful and really stunning,” says a Juror.


For Newport-Mesa Unified School District, LPA assisted with renovation designs for Newport Harbor High School’s historic bell tower – leveled in 2007 because it was seismically unsafe. Restoring a 99-foot-tall, 77-year-old landmark is no easy feat. Design teams had the challenge of reinventing a structure from the 1930s. Preserving elements which include art and murals commissioned during the New Deal. Reorganizing existing programs to improve the educational experience for students. And doing this all with a community heartbroken by the loss of their initial landmark.


“They did a fabulous job recreating and being true to the original building. The new buildings serve as a backdrop to the existing work and they did a good job with the interiors in taking the modern elements and blending them with the historic elements and making it all work together,” said the Jury Panel. “The aesthetic is beautiful and [the] interiors are well thought out.”


It took four years, four trips to Sacramento, three separate appeals, two denials, two re-crafted proposals, four tours of the school, more than 200 pounds of documents shipped to Sacramento, two Capitol hearings and “no small amount of expert help” to garner the necessary funds for the project, Newport-Mesa Unified Assistant Supt. Paul Reed said at the tower’s grand reopening, in 2009.


As with the educational facilities in South Lake Tahoe, the words “stunning” and “elegant” were used by the jury, to describe the renovation at Newport Harbor High School. If MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, designer of the Oscar statuette, could but see these schools, our hope is that he’d enjoy their aesthetics. And maybe even use the word “timeless” as well.

South Tahoe High School
1735 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Online Photo Gallery:


Newport Harbor High School
600 Irvine Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Online Photo Gallery:

About CASH
The Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) was formed in 1978 to promote, develop, and support state and local funding for K-12 construction. CASH Membership contains more than 1,500 school districts, county offices and private sector businesses including: architects, attorneys, consultants, construction managers, financial institutions, modular building manufacturers, contractors, developers, and others that are in the school facilities industry. Since 1982, CASH has sponsored or supported over $52 billion in statewide school bonds to build and/or modernize thousands of schools


About LPA Inc.
Founded in 1965, LPA has more than 220 employees with offices in Irvine, Roseville, and San Diego, Calif. The firm provides services in architecture, planning, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, signage and graphics, and of their professionals, more than 78% are LEED accredited. With extensive experience in public and private architecture, LPA designs a diversity of facilities that span from K-12 schools, colleges and universities, to corporate and civic establishments. In 2010, the firm was recognized internationally as one of the Top Five Green Educational Design Firms in the U.S.


Rochelle Veturis Coles

Media / PR Director, LPA Inc.

(949) 261-1001