Our plans to rebuild the Upper Campus cleared a major hurdle this week as the Ventura County Cultural Heritage Board approved designs to rebuild the girls dormitory, science and technology center, and former headmaster’s residence while also paving the way for construction of the long-awaited Student Commons.
The school is moving will all haste to rebuild after the devastating December 2017 Thomas Fire destroyed portions of the high school. Receiving a positive review by the Cultural Heritage Board (CHB) was a key step.
As part of the planning process, the CHB reviews building applications to ensure that cultural and historic resources are protected, especially those involving properties with buildings older than 50 years — as is the case with the Upper Campus.
Between 1962 and 1966, Ojai architect Chalfant Head designed several of the original campus buildings, including all three boys dormitories, Wallace Burr Hall, the Smith Hobson House girls dormitory, and the headmaster’s residence.
The county requires – and the school is committed to preserving – the historic character of those Chalfant Head buildings. As such, we contracted with Los Angeles-based architect Frederick Fisher and Partners and, this month, submitted a lengthy report to the CHB detailing our plans.
As proposed, the new girls dormitory will be constructed on its former site to accommodate 51 boarding students. The single-story design includes a spacious lounge and a central courtyard.
The former Lucila Arango Science and Technology Center will house seven classrooms and science labs, as well as a faculty workroom. The Center will be constructed on the site of the former headmaster’s house, and we plan to rebuild that residence at the former maintenance yard, which was also destroyed in the fire.
Finally, our building plans include the long-awaited Student Commons — a 12,590-square foot two-story building on the site of the former science center that will include a modern library, a spacious dining hall and kitchen, a student lounge, the college counseling office, learning center, and meeting rooms.
Architecturally, the structures are intended to complement the existing buildings, especially Burr Hall, with full-length windows and a contemporary design that connects students to the outdoors and embraces views of the Ojai Valley.
The entire project is expected to cost $15.5 million. We know insurance will cover a significant portion, but we need the support of our entire community to maintain our forward momentum as we move fast to begin construction in September 2019.
We hope you will join our Restore Renew Rebuild Campaign.