Riverbend Elementary School
Nacht & Lewis Architects
600 Q Street, #100, Sacramento, CA 95811
Location: Yuba City, California
Date Bid: Apr 2006 Construction Period: Apr 2006 to July
Total Square Feet: 86,000 Site: 21 acres.
Number of Buildings: 13 – 3 site built, 10 modular. 46 classrooms
seating 1,300 students; Auditorium, 4,946 sq. ft. seating 733 occupants;
Gym, 5,968 sq. ft. seating 771 occupants.
Building Size: First floor, 86,000; total, 86,000 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 38’6”; total, 38’6”.
Basic Construction Type: New/Structural steel braced frame (CHPS
Certified). Foundation: Cast-in-place, slab-on-grade. Exterior
Walls: CMU, storefront, cement plaster. Roof: Metal, modified
bitumen. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Metal stud
Projected and/or modeled energy usage KBTU/SF/yr: 102.17 kBTU/sq.ft.yr.
Owner: Yuba City School Unified District - 750 Palora Avenue,
Yuba City, CA 95991
General Contractor: Sundt Construction - 2860 Gateway Oaks Drive,
#300, Sacramento, CA 95833
Structural Engineer: Buehler & Buehler Structural Engineers - 600
Q Street, #200, Sacramento, CA 95811
Mechanical Engineer: Capital Engineering Consultants, Inc. -
11020 Sun Center Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Electrical Engineer: The Engineering Enterprise - 853 Lincoln
Way, #105, Auburn, CA 95603
The Riverbend Elementary School is modeled around a K-8 curriculum
model. This program presents unique challenges in dealing with such
diverse age groups. Special attention was required to address the unique
needs of younger kindergarten children and the advanced curriculum needs
of 7th & 8th graders.
The school is organized in small grade-level clusters around a central
courtyard. Facilities include an administrative and counseling office,
library, multi-purpose room with performing arts capabilities and a
full-size independent gymnasium. Site amenities include generous turf
playfields, a running track and equipment areas for the individual grade
Sustainable design elements were also fundamental in the projects
development. Natural daylight is abundant in virtually all spaces on the
campus. High efficiency mechanical systems, low-water use plumbing
fixtures, and automatic lighting controls contribute to a facility that
exceeds the energy requirement of California Title 24 by better than
30%. The school is also recognized by the Collaborative of High
Performance Schools for its energy conscious design and sustainable
The design goals were to create a new model for an elementary school
campus that would focus on sustainability, provide a sense of community
and that promote student achievement; and to create a facility that
would reflect the School District's commitment to the community and to
planning for the future.
The school site is located several hundred yards west of the Feather
River and on the edge of new suburban development. The Feather River,
its landforms and vegetation, became the design inspiration for the
hardscape and landscape design of the campus. There is a symbolic levee
in the center of the campus and the selection of trees, ground covers,
and paving patterns were selected specifically to relate to the river
environment giving the school and the students a unique sense of place.
The sustainability components of the project were developed using the
Collaborative for High Performing Schools' Best Practices Manual and
from the U.S. Green Building Council LEED(R) program. The building forms
and materials are derived from the local agricultural vernacular and are
reinterpreted looking towards the future. The roof forms and materials
become the integrated support structure for more than 300 kvA of thin
film photovoltaic panels producing enough power to lower the utility
costs to run the school by over 30%.
The Gymnasium, Administration Building and the Library Building were
site built and maintained the campus's focus on green design with an
emphasis on energy efficiency and day-lighting. All three buildings
incorporate large amounts of translucent insulated window panels, which
let diffused light in and lowered the energy loss typical of traditional
windows. The building forms were designed based on the layout of thin
film photovoltaic panels that are integrated directly into the metal
roofing system without the need for additional structural supports. The
PV system is designed to provide up to 100% of the peak electrical
demand of the campus on a bright day and more than 30% of the campus's
annual energy needs. Based on the success of the PV system the district
is looking into opportunities to expand the system at other schools.
This project was designed as a model of Green Design and sustainability
for public schools in California and scored 38 points in the
Collaborative for High Performing Schools rating system. The buildings
on campus combine community wide centralized planning, high efficiency
equipment and environmental controls, translucent glazing, and rooftop
photovoltaic panels and the elimination of potable water for landscape
irrigation. The campus is an active laboratory of sustainable design
ideas and is used in the educational curriculum of the students.
This elementary school campus is based on a "super sized" Kindergarten
thru 8th grade model. Recent studies have identified decreased student
performance in traditional elementary/middle/high school models. As our
society becomes more fragmented and transient, students have been
looking to their schools as a form of stability and continuity. By
keeping kids on a single campus through out their elementary school
years, they benefit from the availability and familiarity of the schools
support systems and it has been shown that the K-8th grade model
promotes increased parent participation in the child's education.
Riverbend Elementary School is the 2008 recipient of the Leroy F. Greene
"Award of Merit" for the Coalition for Adequate School Housing Design
and Planning Awards.
DIV. 7: Metal Roofing:
DIV. 8: Glass Low E: PPG; Entrances & Storefronts,
Windows, Curtainwall: Kawneer; Daylighting:
DIV. 9: Carpet: Collins & Aikman; VCT: Armstrong.