CORTE MADERA, Calif., Sept. 2, 2014 – On Saturday, Aug. 23, Larkspur-Corte Madera School District officials and staff, students, parents, community leaders and project team members gathered for a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony of the Quattrocchi Kwok Architects’ (QKA)-designed The Cove School. The district’s brand new elementary school deviates from the traditional campus to meet the changing needs of 21st century learning environments and will accommodate increased enrollment in the district, with capacity for about 450 kindergarten through fifth grade students.
The inspiring event marked the culmination of a collaborative planning, design and construction process among project partners and the district, with actual construction completing in just one year. Speakers included Marin County Superintendent of Schools, Mary Jane Burke; Superintendent of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, Dr. Valerie Pitts; Principal of The Cove School, Michelle Walker; Vice Mayor of Corte Madera, Carla Condon; and Principal at QKA, Mark Quattrocchi.
“Seeing this project complete and ready to welcome the students whose educational experiences it will foster was a surreal experience,” said Quattrocchi, a nationally-recognized expert in modern educational architecture. “Everyone involved in creating The Cove School wholeheartedly believed in and embraced our vision for a place that would nurture the many different ways in which our children learn — independently, collaboratively, through nature, play and technology — resulting in a truly 21st century educational facility. The Cove School is an example of what educational design is capable of.”
“Through a process that involved years of dreaming, planning, researching and problem-solving among students, staff, community members, architects and other project partners, we have created a school that inspires and embodies a love of learning for our children,” added Pitts. “I am so proud of the hard work, and frankly, guts, that all involved exhibited to bring The Cove School to life. We cannot wait to welcome our students into an environment that will nurture, challenge and engage them.”
The five-building, 39,680 square-foot elementary school makes use of learning suites that depart from traditional stand-alone classrooms. Each suite includes two classroom-sized spaces that can be combined or differentiated by a partially transparent operable wall, allowing for collaborative and integrated teaching for group, individual and peer learning. The entrances for all suites face a central shared courtyard and the campus is anchored by a student services and café gathering space, which accommodates administration and counseling offices, dining, performances, student presentations and exercise use, and school-wide assemblies. The Cove School boasts abundant natural light, large alcoves for art and science, reading nooks and designated outdoor learning spaces, such as a central amphitheater, culinary gardens and nature exhibits.
“As school principal, my main focus for the design of The Cove School was our students’, faculty members’ and staffs’ interaction with the campus on a day-to-day basis. I could not be more impressed with the vision and implementation employed by our design and contracting team,” said Walker. “Our new campus provides us with the superior means to live out our school’s four guiding principles: Critical Thinking through Experiential Learning; Social and Emotional Development; Creativity; and Community.”
In addition to QKA, the project team included general contractor Lathrop Construction Associates, Inc., Greystone West Construction Management, Brelje & Race Civil Engineers, Carducci & Associates Landscape Architects, O’Mahony & Myer Electrical Engineers, Costa Mechanical Engineers and ZFA Structural Engineers.
About Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
Santa Rosa-based Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) provides comprehensive master planning, design and construction administration services for Northern California K-12 and higher education, historic renovation and community facilities. With more than $1.2 billion in projects completed in the company’s more than 25-year history, QKA’s award-winning portfolio reflects a commitment to design that emphasizes environmental sustainability and community impact. Recent projects include the new American Canyon High School, which is heralded as the “greenest school in America” and has achieved the highest score of a California school to date from the Collaborative for High Performance School (CHPS) verified program. Visit: www.qka.com.