New Two-Story Science Laboratory and Classroom Building
San Mateo Union High School District, San Mateo, Calif.
Hillsdale High School’s new academic wing, now home to its sciences and world languages studies, is a direct response to increasing enrollment and the need for larger, modern laboratories. The facility was designed to accommodate Hillsdale’s Small Learning Communities (SLC), a vital teaching method that fosters smaller groups of students with teachers. These SLC’s create niche “schools within a school” and contribute to students’ academic advancement. The two-story classroom building includes 10 science laboratories, 8 standard classrooms, a large group room, daycare facility, student and staff restrooms, and ample storage space.
Administrators, teachers and students played an active role in the planning and design process. The teachers’ desires to collaborate with one another can be seen in the grouping of the science laboratories and their positioning around a shared central preparation room, as well as adjacent classrooms that facilitate easy communication and team teaching. Students’ voices can be heard in the arrangement of small group study rooms and casual seating and socializing areas both indoors and out.
In addition, the building hosts a number of green features, including natural light and ventilation, high efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, water conserving plumbing fixtures, drought tolerant landscaping, and sustainable new materials.