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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Carlsbad High School in San Diego, California by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

January 24th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

Carlsbad High School students returned from their holiday break last week to find 11 brand new education buildings and a central plaza awaiting them.  Located at 3557 Lancer Way in Carlsbad, Calif., the $47 million classroom complex was constructed by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., one of the nation’s leading education facility builders, on behalf of the Carlsbad Unified School District.


Carlsbad High School

Carlsbad High School

The education-building complex represents the third phase of an overall $87 million renovation and modernization of Carlsbad High School, home of the Lancers, that McCarthy began in June 2008. The project is being funded by Proposition P, a $198 million bond measure passed by voters in 2006. Carlsbad High School, which was originally built in 1957 and now boasts an enrollment of 3,000 students, is one of eight schools within the Carlsbad Unified School District being constructed or modernized with funding from Prop P.


Carlsbad High School

The one- and two-story education facilities comprise a total of 99,000 square feet of space and provide new classroom, performing arts, vocational education lab and food service space. The buildings surround the newly created Lancer Plaza, which resembles a college campus quad and serves as a central gathering and event area for students.

A grand opening celebration and official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week to commemorate the completion of the education-building phase. More than 200 government officials, school district dignitaries, and other stakeholders attended the event and expressed praise for those involved in the planning, construction and oversight.


Carlsbad High School

“There are so many individuals who have helped guide this project on the right path, and helped realize our dream of being one of the most modern and desirable school campuses in the country,” said Maggie Stanchi, director of instruction for the Carlsbad Unified School District and former principal of Carlsbad High School. “We’re especially grateful to the members of McCarthy’s project team for their diligence and high degree of professionalism throughout the course of this project.”

Built on the site of the school’s former parking lot on the east side of Carlsbad High School, the 11 new steel-framed stucco buildings were designed to harmonize with the surrounding structures, while giving the campus a more contemporary appeal. The buildings feature curtain walls on one side, and cantilevered walls with metal sunscreens on the opposite sides to help reduce energy use. Masonry was incorporated in some areas, including the plaza ticket booth.


Carlsbad High School

In all, the education building phase encompasses 54 new instruction spaces, including 34 regular classrooms, six computer/digital labs, and 14 other instructional rooms to accommodate the school’s highly specialized and widely acclaimed curriculum and programs.  It also encompasses 18 new restrooms, four faculty rooms, and a full-size commercial kitchen.

A professionally equipped, top-notch broadcast studio accommodates Carlsbad High School’s live, daily scholastic broadcasting for which the school has received 19 Emmy Awards and been ranked No. 1 in the nation.  A new backdrop set is currently being fabricated to complement the built-in news desk and guest couch area.


Carlsbad High School

A 2,071-square-foot woodshop features a sophisticated dust collection system and air blast system that lend to the open-ceiling, industrial look of the interior.  A large dance studio, featuring Maplewood hardwood flooring and full-wall shatterproof mirrors, provides practice space for Carlsbad High School’s dance team, which has been the national champion for seven consecutive years.  Other instructional rooms are custom-built for students enrolled in arts, ceramics, fashion, choral, drama, music, construction tech, and functional skills classes. Computer and digital lab rooms accommodate CADD, business, graphic design, digital photo, computer and video classes.


Carlsbad High School

A 2,500-square-foot commercial kitchen provides the facilities and equipment needed for cafeteria staff to prepare between 500 and 600 meals for students each day, including basic breakfast items and full lunch entrees.  The space includes restrooms and locker rooms for those staff members.  A nearby concession room provides an area where students can purchase lighter snack items throughout the day.

Also included in this phase of construction was a 5,000-square-foot, stand-alone wrestling building that features one-inch rubberized flooring and a carefully controlled HVAC system designed to maintain a consistent, moderate temperature.  McCarthy subcontracted construction of this pre-fabricated building to MC Industrial, which specializes in this particular construction method. This portion of work required review and approval by the Division of State Architects.

A primary challenge for McCarthy project team members during this phase of construction was coordinating the logistics of building on an existing, occupied campus and controlling vehicle, bicycle, skateboard and pedestrian traffic.  This task was further complicated by the adjoining, city-owned cultural arts campus, which offered a full spectrum of productions during summer months — a time when construction crews had counted on accomplishing a large portion of the construction work.

“We were in close communication with the District the entire duration in an effort to reduce potential traffic flow issues and minimize disruptions to campus operations while school was in session,” said McCarthy Project Director Craig Swenson. “At many points, it required our having to reassess the schedule, then rearrange subcontractor schedules to accommodate activity on and around the campus.”

With the education-building phase complete, McCarthy crews will now have a few months to demolish some of the existing classroom buildings on the south side of the campus, and convert the site into a new, larger parking lot.

In March 2010, McCarthy completed the second phase of construction, which involved demolition of the existing stadium, installation of underground utility infrastructure, and construction of a new 3,900-seat athletic stadium with aluminum bleachers and a synthetic track and field area. The stadium houses a new 10,000-square-foot building with locker rooms, restrooms and concession areas. The new stadium also features a Pop Warner-sponsored scoreboard with state-of-the-art LED technology for animated messaging.

The initial phase, performed in the later half of 2008, required McCarthy to set up temporary classroom facilities for students, along with the utilities to support these facilities.

Design consultants involved in the Carlsbad High School renovation project include Perkins+Will, architect; John A. Martin & Associates, structural engineer; Leighton Engineering, geotechnical engineer; Cornerstone Engineering, Inc., civil engineer; Johnson Consulting Engineers, Inc., electrical engineer; Donn C. Gilmore & Associates, mechanical engineer; and Lightfoot Planning Group as the landscape architect. The Planning Center provided the Environmental Impact Report.

Gafcon is the program manager. Erik Reuter has been serving as director of school construction on behalf of the CUSD.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the nation’s 10th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2011) and the largest educational facilities builder in California (California Construction, April 2010).  The firm has been building in the education market for the last 50 years. Committed to the construction of high performance buildings, the company has managed construction or built more than 300 K-12 school projects nationwide, totaling more than $2 billion in construction value, and nearly 100 higher education projects on more than 50 campuses. In addition to San Diego, McCarthy has offices in Newport Beach, Sacramento and San Francisco, Calif.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; St. Louis; Dallas; Houston; and Atlanta.  McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.  More information about the company is available online at

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