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RATCLIFF Designs Junipero Serra High School's New Arts and Sciences Center and Competition-Sized Swimming Pool - June 30, 2010


Construction began as soon as the school year ended on the Center for the Arts and Sciences and Aquatics Facility at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo. RATCLIFF, the architecture, interiors and planning firm (www.ratcliffarch.com), teamed with the school to design this 24,000-square-foot classroom building and 38 meter by 25 yard pool. Located at the heart of the campus, the new building establishes important new student circulation patterns that will create an innovative synergy between the arts, sciences, and athletics at the historic Catholic high school for boys.

The new facilities will feature the latest instructional technology to maximize student learning. They will be equipped with Smart Board and digital camera technology, student laptops and wireless computer connectivity.

Other improvements will include:

  • Science: The creation of five new science lecture laboratories for biology, chemistry and physics; classrooms that integrate current advanced technology.
  • Communications: New facilities for yearbook, newspaper and films; a new broadcasting studio; expanded opportunities for engaging students in real world communication.
  • Art: A larger art room dedicated to painting, drawing and 3-D art; a new ceramics room; increased display and work space in the adjacent arts plaza.
  • Music: State-of-the-art band rehearsal and choral space; recording facilities; a Green Room for the Theater Arts Program; a work room for instrument repair.
  • Academic Resource Center: Expanded classroom space; a meeting room to accommodate family conferences; a separate small group tutoring/collaborative study classroom.
  • Aquatics: A brand new, 38 meter by 25 yard pool – standard dimensions for competitive high school water polo and swimming; spectator bleachers; expansion of summer programs including the Serra Swim School.

In accordance with the City of San Mateo’s building code, the entire project will be built with sustainable design features equivalent to achieving LEED® Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“This single complex represents the synthesis of important curricular and athletic programs at Serra, with spaces that will support every one of its students,” said Patricia Alarcón, RATCLIFF’s project architect. “The new state-of-the-art teaching facility brings together under one roof spaces specifically designed for music, art and sciences, and is indicative of the strength of each of these programs at the school.”

“Serra students deserve the best,” said Serra President Lars Lund. “It is our responsibility to provide them with the best facilities possible to meet our standards of excellence. This $21 million project will add tremendous capacity to our science, visual and performing arts, aquatic and academic resource programs. The opening of these facilities in August 2011 will be a great celebration of Serra's proud history, dynamic present and exciting future.”