Award Winner: Kings Beach Elementary School
JK Architecture Engineering | 8125 Steelhead Ave, Kings Beach, CA 96143
530.888.0998 | www.jkaedesign.com
The setting is an historical neighborhood in the town of Kings Beach set on a gentle slope within the Lake Tahoe Basin. The school has a sensitive stream bed that flows alongside the project construction site. Care was taken to mitigate any risk of harm to the stream. Site improvements include parking lot/drop-off expansion, safe and accessible sidewalks for pedestrians, improved student pickup and drop-off zones, decorative and secure fencing, and controlled yet celebratory points of entry.
The inspiration for this project was the beautiful Lake Tahoe environment and the historical school site. Exterior materials and building form were carefully designed to complement the neighborhood in scale, form, and texture. Exterior landscaping and hardscaping were envisioned to offer children an outdoor “Tahoe” experience with large boulders used as exterior classroom amphitheater seating.
Durable concrete block construction supports the District’s need for durable and easily maintainable exterior materials while brick veneer was added to add color and texture and blend with the existing Boys & Girls Club building next door. New single ply roofing complemented the new wing with a flat roof to hold the snow during large winter snow events. This helped to minimize the very large snow-storage requirements on the site…allowing more room for student-centered site elements like a new kinder play yard and new primary play structure. Drought-tolerant landscaping complemented an exterior design scheme that brought Tahoe-area element into play yard such as large boulders and native plant species.
The programming and planning of the Kings Beach Elementary School project was a culmination of extensive community and school site engagement that aimed to transparently conceive and plan a unique school transformation that would benefit the community and children of Kings Beach. Kings Beach Elementary School is a unique historical school that has a mission of inclusivity and bi-lingual instruction. The immersive language approach at the school allows students to learn both English and Spanish. The school also has a strong science curriculum that focuses on the Lake Tahoe Basin ecosystem and allows student to venture outdoors to gain real-world science and environmental instruction. The modernized science classroom and outdoor learning venues support and enhance the special mission of the school.
The renovation and expansion of Kings Beach Elementary School required strategic improvements to security and oversight for the campus. Based on District and school-site committee feedback, it was decided to relocate the main entry and administrative offices to allow for improved campus safety monitoring and better pedestrian flow to a clearly defined school entry. Additionally, a new wing housing four kindergarten classrooms and four additional classrooms replaced several portable classrooms previously in use. The expansion affords Music and Project-Based Learning (science lab) to have newly designated rooms of appropriate size within the permanent facility. Several outdoor learning areas allow learning to flow outside the classroom.