Del Oro High School

  • area / size 200,000 sqft
  • Completed 2023
  • HMC Architects created a modern and flexible space for Del Oro High School in Bakersfield, California.

    In Bakersfield, California, a 77-acre canvas has been transformed into Del Oro High School, an innovative high school that promotes sustainability, student well-being, and empowerment for at-risk learners. Kern High School District (KHSD) partnered with HMC Architects to create this groundbreaking project reshaping the future of education.

    Made possible through community support via bond Measure K, Del Oro is committed to sustainability, incorporating a solar farm to achieve net-zero energy consumption, setting a national example. It also addresses community challenges like gang presence, offering a safe and nurturing environment.

    The campus center building at the heart of the site houses the library and cafeteria, ensuring students can focus on education. Del Oro has no bells, allowing students autonomy in their education, similar to a college experience. The curriculum combines college-preparatory courses with dual enrollment and Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings, preparing students for success in the twenty-first century.

    Nestled amidst farmland, the unique context allowed for unconventional design. HMC’s design team reimagined the context from an aerial perspective, creating a quilted landscape of educational subjects, much like a patchwork of farms. This concept is brought to life through architecture that celebrates the sense of place.

    The positive environment extends beyond the school’s gates, with increased parental involvement. Teachers from other schools are eager to be a part of this journey, and Del Oro extends support to those in need within the community. The school’s nurturing environment has led to outstanding academic achievements, with decreased failure rates and an increase in students achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA.

    The new campus encompasses 200,000 square feet of innovative student instruction spaces and services, supporting the growth and development of 2,500 students. Every aspect of student life has been considered, from administration and counseling to food service, performing arts, and athletic programs.

    The core of the campus’s design philosophy lies in NextGen learning environments. Flexible spaces provide opportunities for collaboration and accommodate diverse learning styles and programs. Maker spaces and collaboration areas empower students to think critically and problem-solve. The use of glass walls promotes an open and transparent learning environment that fosters collaboration within the school community.

    This project began with immersive design workshops, involving a committed design team that worked tirelessly to bring the concept to life. The project was delivered within a budget of less than $500 per square foot, demonstrating HMC’s commitment to cost-efficient solutions without compromising quality.

    Design: HMC Architects
    Contractor: SC Anderson
    Photography: Lawrence Anderson Photography