Transforming a vacant grocery store into empowering educational space housing two ends of the PK-12 educational spectrum—a 300-student alternative high school and a 680-student early learning center—is a challenge rich in opportunity.
Mica Peak High School (MPHS) and the Central Valley Early Learning Center (CV-ELC) had several previous homes throughout the district, but the buildings were always leftover spaces no longer used by the mainstream K-12 population. These hand-me-down facilities reinforced a negative identity among the students and staff in these unique programs. This student population needed spaces dramatically different than what is found in an antiquated 1950s school building.
Students and families at MPHS and the ELC are flourishing in spaces designed specifically to support their educational needs. The building provides intentional crossover spaces, encouraging the two programs to build off each other. High school students get credit for working with ELC students. High school art students paint murals for the early learning students and build gardens that develop confidence for all students. The symbiotic relationship of these programs is facilitated by the built environment, creating opportunities that previously did not exist.