Western Placer Unified School District (WPUSD) celebrated the opening of Scott M. Leaman Elementary School in Lincoln, California with a socially distanced ribbon-cutting ceremony. The ceremony not only marked the opening of the new school but also WPUSD student’s first day back at school since March. Limited to a few key members of the design and contracting team, the school board, and key district leaders, the celebration was held just before elementary students arrived on campus for their first day at the new elementary school. Thanks to our contracting partners Roebbelen, a Lemur named Mischief was also on hand to celebrate as a nod to the school’s mascot, the Leaman Lemurs.
This project was driven by the Lincoln community. Proposed in 2003 to meet the district’s growing needs, budget restrictions and economic uncertainty put the project on hold. However, the community never gave up on their vision for a new school. Neighbors have been very excited to see this project open and have shown incredible support for the design and construction.
The $28M, 54,000 SF school features an administration building, multi-purpose center, library, kindergarten, and classroom buildings to accommodate over 650 kindergarten to fifth-grade students. Vibrant, kid-friendly colors invite students in, and indoor and outdoor spaces blend to stretch the indoors and enlarge classroom spaces. The message that “learning comes first” is made clear with the placement of the school library at the neighborhood’s main intersection, making it the first thing visitors see on arrival. The school’s design and construction were well underway before the current pandemic, but the forward-thinking design concept focused on flexibility and adaptability with a blend of indoor and outdoor spaces. Large garage-style doors in classrooms and the multipurpose center were designed to welcome in outdoor airflow and expand indoor spaces to make them feel larger. Now, students and teachers can practice safe social distancing, extend learning outdoors, and take advantage of natural airflow. This flexible and adaptable design made it much easier for Leaman Elementary School to open its doors safely to students in early October.
In August, HMC Architects released a COVID-19 Campus Reboot Guide for PreK-12 schools after consulting with clients from various school districts and county offices of education, conducting surveys with parents, and doing a deep dive literature review on building design and infectious disease transmission/prevention. Given the constantly changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, evolving knowledge about the disease, and shifting directives from governmental agencies, it’s HMC’s hope that the guide offers some clarity for educators and parents of school children.