LA opens new high school

April 10, 2013 |
Julie S. Higginbotham

Lawrence Anderson Photography / COURTESY LEO A DALY


The Los Angeles Unified School District South Region High School No. 9 (LAUSD No. 9) in South Gate, Calif., designed by the Los Angeles office of international architecture and engineering firm LEO A DALY and built by Turner Construction Company, has been completed.

The new high school, encompassing 107,000 square feet, includes three distinct learning clusters—each housing classroom, laboratory and library functions—as well as a gymnasium and multi-purpose building, a performing arts center, an administrative building, a maintenance and operations facility, and courtyards and shelters.

LEO A DALY’s design for the LAUSD No. 9 campus focuses on providing a positive learning environment that enhances students’ connectivity and safety during the school day. The school’s academic buildings are connected via a distinct pathway from the main entryway to the playing fields, mimicking the flow of the nearby Los Angeles River. Along the path, the low-rise buildings bend to frame a centralized courtyard that serves as a safe, sheltered zone for students. Each academic cluster also incorporates its own small courtyard. An outdoor lunch shelter is covered by an undulating canopy that also reflects the river’s form.

“Our design intention was to provide students with a strong sense of place and identity,” says Mark Griffith, managing principal for LEO A DALY’s Los Angeles office. “The completion of this new high school campus is a big step in giving students the potential to learn and thrive within a revitalizing neighborhood in South Los Angeles.”

The campus itself serves as an architectural learning opportunity, with structural elements such as columns, sheer walls and trusses exposed to educate students about building systems. Also, the new campus buildings feature sustainable building strategies such as sun shades for the prevention of solar heat gain and concrete that incorporates fly ash recycled from manufacturing waste.

The design draws on the local landscape as well. Libraries in each of the academic clusters incorporate windows that look out on individual courtyards, encouraging student interaction between the indoors and outdoors. In addition, the campus offers open green spaces for studying, encouraging students to take advantage of the warm climate.


Established in 1915, LEO A DALY is an international architecture, engineering, and interior design firm. The Company’s portfolio includes award-winning projects in 77 countries and all 50 states. With nearly 900 employees in 31 offices worldwide, the firm ranks in the top 10 largest design firms in the United States and top 25 globally. For more information, visit

Source: LEO A DALY

Julie S. Higginbotham | New Projects Portfolio
Building Design + Construction
Senior Editor

Julie S. Higginbotham, Senior Editor of Building Design + Construction, has more than 20 years of experience writing about the built environment. Previously she was editor of Laboratory Design newsletter, and a member of the editorial team at School Planning & Management, College Planning & Management, Building Supply Home Centers, and American Nurseryman. She is a recepient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award and multiple regional and national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE).

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