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Cupertino High School Student Union: Topping Out

The new Student Union Building at Cupertino High School in the Fremont Union High School District “topped out” yesterday, reaching a significant milestone in the completion of the new facility. Design firm Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) looked on as students, board members and staff signed the final beam of the east bridge canopy, which was then hoisted and secured in place.

The future two-story, 29,000-square-foot-building will be comprised of the Cafeteria, Library and Administration for the campus. As part of the project, QKA also designed a completely renovated main Quad, as well as site improvements at the school’s entry. QKA has teamed with program manager Kitchell, coordinator of all district bond projects, and general contractor Blach Construction to build the new space, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2014.

“The new Student Union Building, which is situated at the entrance to the school, was designed to adapt to the changing community and the role the school plays here,” said Mark Quattrocchi, principal at QKA. “Our goal was to create a series of collaborative spaces where students can seamlessly eat, study independently, work in groups and socialize all in the same area, and I think we achieved this. The campus will now have an environment like that of the high tech offices that surround it.”

The building will support the school’s vision of 21st century education, with collaborative work spaces flowing from the Quad’s performance stage and seating areas through large glass doors into the open seating area of the Café. It will feature an open staircase to the upper level, which will house a seating area with café tables and presentation areas. The Library will also be on the second level, providing traditional reading and studying areas, as well as a variety of enclosed meeting spaces. Further, construction of the new Student Union Building will allow for existing spaces to be converted into additional classrooms to accommodate the significant growth in student enrollment the district is experiencing.

From the earliest stages of the project, QKA extensively utilized building information modeling (“BIM”) technology to design, coordinate and present the new building. 3-D walk-throughs were used to convey design ideas for the different spaces to the Cupertino High School team and district school board. BIM was also used to coordinate with the engineers working on the project, as well as with Blach Construction. Blach Construction and its sub-contractors have continued to use BIM to coordinate and plan work during the construction phase of the project.

“The use of BIM on this complicated project has been an invaluable tool in terms of arriving at agreed-upon design concepts, and in coordination with the construction team and mechanical and structural engineers,” continued Quattrocchi. “We use the technology in designing all of our projects as it allows for better planning, coordination and accuracy throughout all phases of design and construction.”

Cupertino High School’s Student Union Building was also designed with sustainability as a driving goal, including careful detailing to provide balanced daylighting, energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems, as well as the use of sustainable building materials.

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