Built to accommodate students who were previously bused to schools outside their neighborhood, Cesar Chavez Elementary School is the Long Beach Unified School District's first school built using California's Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) green design principles. The K-5 school, a major project in the City of Long Beach's downtown redevelopment zone, includes joint-use spaces for the City's Parks, Recreation, and Marine Department and for a Long Beach Memorial Hospital Children's Clinic to support community and student wellness programs. These community uses were included to a catalyze redevelopment and encourage community unity and pride.
The Long Beach Unified School District recognized the opportunity to build a high-performance school that would benefit the community in multiple ways. With the support of the School District and energy models, the design team developed highly efficient and synergistic mechanical, electrical, and architectural systems for the school.
The central plant cooling and heating system is unique among systems in small California schools. The cooling towers, located on a prominent corner of the school, are visible behind perforated screens. Internal corridors at the school are daylit via skylights and light monitors, which in turn allow light to reach classrooms through clerestory windows. Programmable direct/indirect pendant fixtures in all classrooms automatically dim when daylight is sufficient. The energy-efficiency measures are estimated to save over $29,000 in annual utility costs.
Recycled, rapidly renewable, durable, and low-maintenance materials highlight the building's structural green features, like its sunshades, clerestory windows, and the green wall that graces the courtyard and shades the gymnasium.
This project's creative use of valuable urban land is one of its most important features. Joint-use agreements with the City and with Long Beach Memorial Hospital bring much needed services to the community while reducing infrastructure requirements.