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$2B Quarry Falls Project Offers Valuable Lessons for Students

The next wave of architectural professionals has the opportunity to provide design input on a proposed charter school in Mission Valley.

As part of an education program offered by the San Diego Architectural Foundation, more than 50 students from High Tech High and Explorer Elementary Charter School in Point Loma began research last week to design a High Tech High kindergarten through eighth grade school in the proposed Quarry Falls community. If approved by the San Diego City Council, the community would be built on a 230-acre property once used as a gravel quarry.

The Built Environment Education Program introduces students to the basic concepts of land planning, urban design and architecture in a three-month lesson plan that culminates in a presentation to a jury of professional architects and planners. The final presentation by students will include site analysis, site plans, floor plans and scaled models of the proposed school to the project architect, San Diego-based Carrier Johnson, and project landscape architect, Wallace Roberts & Todd LLC’s San Diego office.

Students from Isaac Jones’ 10th-grade class at High Tech High and Stacey Stevenson’s first-grade class at Explorer Elementary are participating in the project. The first-graders will act as clients and the high school students will act as the professionals serving their clients and producing a computer-generated model.

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Jones says his students are excited about the opportunity to participate in the design process of a new school.

“It has given them the opportunity to actively engage in a real project,” said Jones.

Rebecca Grijalva, the program coordinator and a designer with Platt/Whitelaw Architects Inc., says the focus is to get students interested in architecture and landscape design, and to incorporate energy and environmental design into their project.

“The goal … is to create an innovative school design that is energy-efficient, sustainable and a fun place to learn,” said Grijalva.

Marco Sessa, vice president of development for Sudberry Properties Inc., developer for the proposed project, says he anticipates High Tech High incorporating many of the recommendations made in the student-designed plans into the final draft of the facility.

Quarry Falls is a proposed $2 billion mixed-use development off Friars Road that would reuse 230 acres of gravel quarry. Plans call for residential, office, retail and open space, along with a park, civic center and fire station.

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