Union School District

Union School District / San Jose, CA

Alta Vista, Lietz, Oster, Noddin, Guadalupe and Carlton Elementary Schools

  • Project: Modernization and Expansion
  • Type: TK-5
  • Completion Date Phase 1: 2017
  • Completion Date Phase 2: 2017-2018

Project Background

As part of a Districtwide initiative to upgrade facilities for 21st century learning, Union School District (USD) retained American Modular Systems (AMS) to create a flexible, DSA-approved STEAM design that could be replicated fast and affordably at all six USD elementary schools. AMS modeled the new modular STEAM buildings after the Gen7 STEM facility at USD’s Dartmouth Middle School, streamlining the design to maximize functionality and features in a compact 56’ x 36’ footprint. Oversized makerspace classrooms are configured to adapt to different instructional methods and curriculums, adding open-concept flex-space for USD’s award-winning STEAM programming—including engineering design, computer science and arts & crafts—according to each school’s needs. Phase 1 buildings opened at Alta Vista, Lietz and Oster elementary schools in August 2017; Phase 2 buildings opened at Noddin and Guadalupe in December 2017, with Carlton following in January 2018.

All six buildings blend state-of-the-art sustainability with embedded IT capabilities that engage students through collaboration and information sharing. The space is fully networked to power multiple digital devices, with indoor/outdoor WiFi access and greenscreen broadcasting rooms to inspire innovative project-based learning. Interior and exterior glass NanaWalls slide open and closed as needed, creating flexibility within and between classrooms and fluidity between classrooms and the outdoor courtyard. The NanaWalls allow separate classrooms to be combined for larger group learning while bringing natural ventilation and extensive daylight to each space—an energy-saving benefit that ensures superior indoor air quality and greater student comfort. Durable, low-maintenance surfaces, like concrete floors and markerboard walls, work with acoustical ceilings and quiet, high-efficiency HVAC systems to contain sound—a must for multifunctional makerspaces where young students are encouraged to create.