|The campus features an agrarian aesthetic, which is a reflection of the region’s history and context. Perris is known for its agricultural roots, and the use of raw, durable materials fits the surrounding area well. Long, thin overhangs clad in simple metal finishes are supported by exposed structure that creates pockets of shade to make outdoor spaces useful. All of the classrooms feature vaulted volumes supported by beautiful, exposed Alaskan yellow cedar glulam beams. Wood beams continue to the outdoor covered walks through large expanses of glass, reinforcing the indoor/outdoor nature of the classrooms. The post and beam parti is repeated in the media center, tech lab and multipurpose buildings. All of the educational spaces are intentionally designed to garner respect and pride in the facility by the community, students and staff. When asked by the community what the new school will be like, the Superintendent tells them, “It’s the school you’ve always dreamed of.”
Clearwater ES will serve new local housing developments and relieve overcrowding from other campuses within the district. In addition to becoming a place of pride for the community, it will function as a meeting place for local groups and clubs and also provide a great environment for after-school activities.
Since this is a campus for small children, keeping the scale small has been paramount through the design process. The residential feeling of the classroom buildings with their familiar rooflines helps accomplish this. Large windows as well as the direct connection to outdoor learning areas remind students that learning happens everywhere. The use of color and texture in the exterior materials is visually exciting and provides a way for students to be able to identify their piece of campus for the school year.
The Clearwater team is pursuing the new Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools (DROPS) grant offered by the State by incorporating several drought remediation elements into the project. For example, the educational quads feature five rainwater collection cisterns that provide water to the raised garden beds. Collection areas have been designed all over campus to capture water on site and direct it to the southeast corner of the site to the bio-retention area for filtration back into the ground water. The use of pervious paving in the parking lots will also help capture sheet flow water and move it into the bio-retention area and community garden. Finally, the landscaping for the project consists of native, drought tolerant plants. Lawn areas are minimized internally and ample use of decomposed granite areas eliminate the need for watering. And adjacent to the outdoor covered eating area is a farm area where students can participate directly in the growing of food providing the educational component. Intentionally putting rainwater collection on display and seeing its immediate usefulness adds a tangible component to the curriculum that students can take home and implement, creating a stronger tie-in with the surrounding community.