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Tubular system provides daylight for modular school with small windows

Tubular system provides daylight for modular school with small windows

Flora Arca Mata Elementary, classroom
Daylit classroom at Flora Arca Mata Elementary School, Stockton, Calif. Photo: American Modular Systems

In the case of Flora Arca Mata Elementary School, in Stockton, Calif., strict design constraints resulted in a beautiful and nontraditional new 46,752-sf, fully customized modular school.


After a survey showed the immediate need for a new school was essential to serve the growing enrollment, Stockton USD was pushed to think fast and creatively to design and build a new K-8 school within two years.

Faced with a tight budget and even tighter timeline, the school district needed an innovative solution and flexible design that could adapt and accommodate future needs while prioritizing health, productivity, and performance.

During the design phase, one of the biggest concerns for the project was finding a way to bring daylight into the space. Stockton USD’s specification called for smaller height windows located higher up the wall to limit student distractions of looking out the window, but this also limited the amount of natural light available to each classroom.


To properly daylight the campus and meet design goals, the design team specified the Solatube SolaMaster Series 750 DS, which illuminated each classroom with broad-spectrum daylight, alleviating the natural light loss from having small windows.

Solatube Daylight Dimmers were also fitted to each Solatube system, allowing teachers and staff to adjust room daylight levels simply and easily.

Daylighting the library at Flora Arca Mata Elementary. Photo: AMS
The project team specified Solatube's SolaMaster Seris 750 DS system and Solatube Daylight Dimmers for the modular school. Photo: AMS

The design team at American Modular Systems (AMS) selected Solatube over other daylighting options based on quality, reliability, and adaptability.

The flexible design of the Solatube Tubular Daylighting System worked within the limited attic space available in the modular building and still left plenty of space on the rooftop for HVAC units and the associated mechanical screens.

One advantage of the Solatube systems is that the roof location and ceiling location don’t have to line up exactly. The tubing allows for angular capability within the plenum space. The tubing also takes up less real estate and offers more flexibility than a traditional skylight.

Moreover, the adaptable tube design will allow for future interior layout flexibility. If the building needs change, the Tubular Daylighting System’s light distribution lens and tubing can easily be realigned to new locations. Fixtures can be updated by swapping out or adding new accessories to customize the new space.

Daylighting the library at Flora Arca Mata Elementary. Photo: AMS
Daylighting the library at Flora Arca Mata Elementary, Stockton, Calif. Photo: AMS


The lighting solution created by AMS, Teter Architects and Engineers, and Solatube International provided a custom aesthetic that unifies the modular and traditional buildings. The Solatube Tubular Daylighting Systems were the perfect solution for daylighting a modern and high-performing educational environment that promotes health and well-being. The affordable and adaptable design supports the school’s need now and will allow the district to meet future needs.

“We’ve used Solatube for over a decade,” said Tony Sarich, VP of Operations, American Modular Systems. “It’s a standard for all our GEN7 modular buildings and available as an option on all other project lines. It’s familiar, reliable, and flexible, and the industry-leading daylighting solution for schools.”



Stockton Unified School District

Stockton, Calif.


Teter Architects and Engineers (architect)

American Modular Systems (builder)

Solatube International (daylighting solutions provider)

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