DLR Group to Design New Compton High School

Compton (Calif.) Unified School District Board of Trustees selected DLR Group to design the new Compton High School campus. DLR Group’s innovative design will serve approximately 2,500 students and elevate learning opportunities with modern amenities and flexible spaces that foster relationships between students and educators. The three-month long selection process included a design competition and a community display, allowing the District to gain valuable input from students, staff, parents, and community members.

“DLR Group demonstrated they are the perfect company to create this Board’s vision to transform our oldest campus into a model of a 21st Century educational environment,” said Board President Satra Zurita. “Our goal is to create a learning environment that inspires our scholars not only to close the achievement gap but also close the opportunity gap.”

Known as the Hub City, Compton is located in nearly the exact geographical center of Los Angeles County. DLR Group’s design is both a vibrant celebration of learning and a reflection of Compton’s urban edges.

“The Compton community has worked diligently to be known for its excellence in music and athletics. To further build upon this legacy, the District sought to set the standard with an educational campus of the future,” said DLR Group Principal Brett Hobza, AIA, LEED AP. “Our primary goal throughout the design competition was to elevate learning opportunities for all students. To achieve this, the design team created keystone shaped learning suites that support project based learning, student exploration and general instruction.”

Designed specifically for Compton High School, the keystone learning suites will help advance interdepartmental collaboration and build stronger relationships between students, teachers, and administrators. DLR Group designed the keystones as separate suites that can be linked together with moveable walls that open and close. This function allows teachers and students to customize their spaces to easily support a variety of learning activities. The narrow area at the base of each keystone can be used for discussion, small group work, or presentation-style instruction. The widened area is where projects of all types are dreamed, designed, developed, and built. In addition, rooftop gardens accessible from the second floor provide opportunities for outdoor learning.

Two new pathways unite the site, honor the legacy of Compton High School, and welcome the community as one of its most important icons. The new Academic Boulevard defines the North/South Axis to create a learning community and organizes Career and Technical educational (CTE) spaces along its edges with classroom wings above. This Boulevard is a vibrant place for students to socialize and learn together, to have fun and express themselves through their school work, art, and music. At the north end, the gymnasium and administration building anchors the north quad that in turn faces the community’s government center and Martin Luther King Memorial. At the south end, the performing arts center is a beacon to the community along a prominent city street previously hidden from campus.

“At each end of the Academic Boulevard is an architectural celebration,” said Hobza. “On the north, history and legacy is preserved through the 1935 Administration Building defining the northern quad. On the south, the new O.S. Thompson Performing Arts Center will be a beacon to the community along Alondra Boulevard.”

The Plinth, or ground floor buildings on both sides of the Academic Boulevard, forms the base of the core learning environments. Inside the Plinth, students will participate in programs such as Construction Manufacturing, Graphic Arts, A/V Technology, Communications, Robotics, and Culinary Arts. Each of these programs opens to common areas, gallery spaces, and to the Academic Boulevard.

The East/ West Axis, or Memorial Parkway, reflects the importance of community and athletics. The new collegiate caliber sporting complex is home to indoor events in the Eddie Thomas Competition Gymnasium, and outdoor activities in the Ramseur Stadium and Athletic Field or courts. Anchoring the west end of the path, the Memorial Garden plays a prominent role in the design solution by providing a nature-rich place for learning, play, and reflection.

“We will essentially build the high school campus of the future,” said Board Vice President Micah Ali. “We will create a campus that supports our students to excel academically as well as in athletics, the arts and especially the high-tech digital arts where the jobs of the future await our graduates.”

The total cost of the project will be determined after programming and planning of the campus are complete. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019 with completion scheduled in 2024.