SAN JOSE, CA—Voters here have overwhelmingly supported a $125 million bond measure to upgrade and repair aging facilities of the Union Elementary School District, and implement a plan of the Governing Board and Superintendent to bring their facilities into the highest level of 21st Century Learning Environments.
Earlier this year, the Union Elementary School District approved BCA Architects’ Long Range Facilities Master Plan for its schools in a unanimous vote. Union School District was particularly interested in working with BCA because of the firm’s focus on campus safety/security in design.

“The mission of the Union School District is to enrich the community through learning,” said Jacqueline Horejs, Union School District Superintendent. “The District’s goal has been to design facilities that will support innovative, state-of-the-art teaching and learning in order to ensure student success on the rigorous new Common Core State Standards and to enable them to be successful in all of their future endeavors. Paul Bunton and his Team at BCA Architects provided strong leadership and guidance to our District through thoughtful presentations that ultimately led the Governing Board to a unanimous approval of their visionary master plan.”

The approval of this master plan and the passage of the Bond Measure comes at an exciting time for the Union School District, as the district celebrates its 150th birthday this year. The district is currently implementing the second year of its three year plan to prepare students for the California Common Core State Standards tests. For the past two years, the District has been focusing on providing students with 21st century teaching and learning experiences to prepare them for successful lives in the work world. BCA’s powerful school designs will help create a learning environment and culture to give the students every advantage as they matriculate into college and the workforce.

The goal of the master plan was to design facilities that address and support the educational program needs of the community. As part of the master plan, facilities will be developed to balance functionality with safety and security, with designs that respect the surrounding community. BCA has created superior, high performance, indoor and outdoor teaching and learning environments that support the academic success of every student and enhance the quality of student life. This includes designing campuses with safe and clearly identified pedestrian and vehicular access ways and creating facilities that address an evolving educational program.

“Our goal at BCA was to create a school district that truly designed by the community and for the community,” said Paul Bunton, president of BCA Architects. “We sought input from the school board, teachers, parents, and students for the design of the master plan. This plan is intended to guide the development of the District’s facilities over the next 10-20 years by creating flexible spaces to integrate the technology of today while planning for the technology of the future.”

Devorah Merling, 21st century educator in residence, and Seamus O’Connor, job captain at BCA Architects, played an integral role in this project.

“With the introduction of the Common Core Curriculum in California, the learning process has become more individualized for each student,” said Merling. “As an educator and technology training specialist, it is my job at BCA to work with the teachers, the students, and the parents throughout the design process. I am the bridge between the views of the architects and the community, making sure all voices are heard and all goals are achieved.”