LPA was charged with bringing the oldest high school in the San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) into the 21st century, with new learning facilities for the students, staff and community. The planning phase of the reconstruction of the 405,000-square-foot, 3,000-student enrollment San Marcos High School was a highly inclusive process involving multiple groups in meetings that varied in format from formal presentations to informal workshops, charrettes and work sessions. Students, parents, faculty, school administrators, the community and representatives from SMUSD were involved throughout the development of the design solution. The idea of a multistory campus around a central quad, to establish a sense of community and maximize the available site area for school programs and amenities, was a direct result of this collaborative process.

The campus consists of four major buildings. The L-shaped Academic building is a combination of three and four stories and contains a majority of the classroom space. The single-story Academy building includes shop studios, computer labs and laboratory space for the agricultural program. The Athletic Center has a three-court gym and multipurpose weight room, dedicated dance/fitness studios and support space for athletics and physical education. Lastly, the Performing Arts Center includes a 400-seat theater, black box theater and support, as well as teaching stations for the visual arts, media arts, band and chorus.

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