When the Grossmont Union High School District approached HED with two outdated buildings from the 1950’s on the El Capitan High School campus, the initial solution seemed to be that these buildings would need to be fully replaced. They were old, obsolete, and no longer provided the quality instructional and administrative space the district required.
HED’s approach was both cost-effective and environmentally responsible: suggesting modernizing these existing buildings instead of tearing down buildings. The savings from this decision allowed the district to spend those funds elsewhere on more efficient MEP systems, replacing windows with more efficient glass, LED light fixtures, and insulating the envelope of the building – reducing energy costs. This extensive renovation created a state-of-the-art, modern facility by limiting the amount of finishes, exposing the ‘good bones’ of the structure allowing for clerestory lighting, and incorporating more natural lighting into the classroom building through the addition of solar tubes.
Along with saving the existing envelope, the team also responded to the district’s desire for a defined arrival to the administration building, creating a more dramatic entrance which thematically coordinates with their new event center (also designed by HED) along the school’s frontage that ties into the rest of the campus and encourages wayfinding.