Novato High School Performing Arts Center & Center for the Sciences

Location: Novato, CA

Project Architect(s): WLC Architects

Sq. Footage: 42,000

The new 450-seat, 18,000 SF Center for the Arts theater building has two seating levels, gallery space, classroom/greenroom spaces, dressing rooms and a gala entry hall. The state-of-the-art venue supports district-wide arts programs, as well as Novato High School’s Marin School for the Arts.

A new 15,000 SF Center for the Sciences building is home to the school’s chemistry, biology, sciences, engineering, and physics departments – all ushering in 21st century learning environments. The new building houses 10 lecture/labs, a demonstration area, breakout spaces, and staff support space. There is extensive new lab casework being installed in this building along with folding glass classroom partitions, skylights and large sectional doors that allow access to outdoor learning areas. Each of these components will contribute to the presence of natural light in the building.

There are a number of interesting aspects of this project. For example, the new facilities were being added to a campus that was primarily built in the 50s. Also, prior to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, the project, which covers a large portion of the school property, was taking place on a very active campus. Another challenge was that as the project began, portables had to be quickly relocated and reconnected to make ready for the start of the school. Finally, the campus topology is such that the entire surrounding area drains toward the site of the Performing Arts Center site. In order to mitigate issues caused by this drainage pattern, Wright Contracting added extensive drainage systems to the site and has to carefully manage water during the project.

This project was delivered via the Lease-Leaseback delivery method and was subject to DSA approval.