Edison High School Academic Building, Fresno Unified School District

EdisonBuilding1_650Edison Technical High School was originally founded in 1906, just twenty-one years after Fresno California was incorporated as a city proper in 1885. The High School’s west Fresno neighborhood saw steady growth through the next 60 years. From its humble beginnings with just two buildings, the campus grew to include additional classroom wings, art and drama, on all sides the school expanded to support the thriving community. 

However, in 1972 the aging classroom building was demolished, triggering a great loss of identity for Edison High School. With the values and aspirations of the campus and community so intrinsically linked, after almost thirty years of decline, it became clear a defining change was necessary. Planning sessions were held to integrate the ideas and needs of administrators, staff, students, parents, and members of the community into one cohesive Campus Master Plan.

EdisonBuilding2_850The first new building to usher in this era of growth and pride for Edison High school is an iconic flagship for the changing campus. The dynamic new Academic Building holds cardinal value in the process of updating the architectural vernacular of the institution through all projected growth and modernizations yet to come. Additionally, it is through its completion, that the students, staff, and community have begun to recapture that lost Edison High School identity.

Disposing of outdated portable classrooms to make way for leading-edge technical labs, classrooms, and learning spaces was of high priority:

  • As a magnet school for math and science it was important that the labs and standard classrooms matched and even exceeded technological standards, allowing for a project based learning environment potential, and future integration of state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Art classrooms and a lecture hall/presentation space were needed, allowing students to foster their expression and communication skills, while also providing a space for staff training and even community meetings.
  • A unique special education classroom should provide a space tailored to hands-on teaching, and be supportive of integration with the larger student body.

EdisonBuilding3_650Lead by Darden Architects and built by Turner Construction, the project has come to completion in less than two years. With $12.3m in combined funding (including an HPI incentive grant, PG&E savings by design grant, SFP Modernization & Growth, and ORG) and a bid amount of $11.8m, non-district funding sources more than paid for the project.

The Academic building establishes on the campus, a memorable and dramatic visual identity. In keeping with its technical background, a binary code environmental graphic pattern is woven onto the sun screen used to shade the west-facing classrooms, and is taken inside the building at strategic locations. In support of school spirit the Edison “Tiger” yellow punctuates the building’s understated color scheme. With features like its abundant naturally illuminating clerestory windows, and spacious classrooms and hallways, this High-performance, sustainably-minded design will bring together the rich history and bright future of Edison High School.

As the 2013 C.A.S.H./AIACC Leroy F. Greene Design Award recipient for Project in Design, the new Academic Building at Edison High School is a progressive break-through for this esteemed California institution and a symbol of change and pride for its students, staff, and community.