Historic Alameda High School | Submitted by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
Alameda, Calif. 
Region: ENR California

Owner Alameda Unified School District
Contractor Lathrop Construction Associates
Lead Design Firm Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
Structural Engineer ZFA Structural Engineers
Civil Engineer Brelje and Race
MEP Engineer Costa Engineers Inc.
Electrical Engineers O’Mahony & Myer
Landscape Architect Carducci Associates
Subcontractors Axiom Engineers Inc.; D. Bartlett Consulting Inc.; Dohn & Associates Inc.; Larry L. Locuson; McCracken & McCracken; Sol Data Inc.; Terracon Consultants Inc.; Van Deusen & Associates Inc.; Miller Pacific

Although it is a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Alameda High School, built in 1924, had been vacated by students since 1978 and was fully shuttered in 2012. “It could have collapsed catastrophically in an earthquake,” says Chris Warner, a principal at ZFA Structural Engineers. A system of temporary shoring and debris fences kept it safe during years of debate over what to do.

The high school is the centerpiece of a $600-million master plan for Alameda schools—unquestionably “the signature project” that allowed members of the community to support the bond measure financing the program, says Mark Quattrocchi, partner at Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, lead design firm on the restoration and master architect for the owner, Alameda Unified School District.

With 100,000 sq ft of building that had grandeur and stature, it was “economically viable to save it,” says Quattrocchi. The nearly $60-million cost covered stabilizing liquefiable soil, bracing the building’s weak frame, meticulous restoration of original wood windows, bronze doors and other features, and upgrading wiring and piping to support the latest in education technology and fire protection.

Existing concrete columns, some as weak as 700 psi where 3,000 psi was needed, had to be shored, and parts of the interior were demolished. Soil stabilization involved drilling more than 2,000 high-pressure grout-injection holes under the existing floor. Then, existing footings were enlarged and new footings added. New steel columns and steel-braced frames were needled into place through the three-story-high roof.

But the toughest challenge, says Anthony Reed, vice president of general contractor Lathrop Construction Associates, was restoring the badly damaged bronze doors. “We found a shop that had the machinery to do it, but it’s mind-boggling to think of the craftsmanship it took 100 years ago to do this by hand.”

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