San Dieguito Earl Warren Middle School
Solana Beach, Calif.
Best Project

Owner: San Dieguito Union High School District
Lead Design Firm/Structural Engineer: Lionakis
General Contractor: McCarthy Building Co.
Civil Engineer: BKF
MEP Engineer: tk1sc

The San Dieguito Earl Warren Middle School project in Solana Beach replaces the original 1954 facility with a sustainable and high-tech learning environment.

The new school provides 500 students and teachers with 56,000 sq ft of learning and activity space. Students were transferred to an interim campus on the adjacent playing fields during construction, so completion in time for the 2017-2018 school year was vital.

The team overcame unforeseen drainage issues from offsite water, which resulted in multiple rounds of civil redesign, including the resubmission of permit applications to the coastal commission. This effort initiated upgrades to the city’s entire storm drain infrastructure and a bypass line for the adjacent neighborhood. The project team also faced challenges during final permitting and acceptance of the coastal development permit. This restricted how the site was staged and the location of debris bins, fuel storage and materials. However, the team upheld the original schedule of the project despite more than two months of delays in the permitting process.

The school also benefited from applied innovations within the structural steel design. The team used horizontal instead of vertical brace-frame gussets to limit any wall damage if the frame were to buckle. The structural engineer also used metal studs as well as wooden shear walls made of oriented strand boards for the classrooms, which reduced the amount of steel needed.

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