The definition of the word revitalize is “to bring new life.” No better word could be used to
describe the North Park Elementary School project which was recently completed in San
Bernardino. School officials contacted Ruhnau Clarke in April, just days after a gunman took
the life of a special education teacher and one of her students, injuring another student before
turning the gun on himself.
 
The goal of this project was twofold – to provide a higher level of security and safety for the
school and to transform the space, bringing inspiration, creativity, and new life to a building
overshadowed by tragedy. Our team gladly accepted the challenge and immediately got to
work. Considering the project a community service to the North Park staff and students,
Ruhnau Clarke and the design team completed the project at no fee to the District.
 
It was imperative that North Park be completed by the time school opened to students in
August. Agency approvals were expedited and construction processes were streamlined in
order to meet the compressed timeline. Demolition began on June 5th and new construction
began shortly after on June 9th. All teams involved worked hard to adhere to the compressed
timelines and remained focused on the ultimate goal, honoring and celebrating the staff and
students that had already endured so much by transforming the school into a place that will
inspire them as they look to the future. The design was completed in two and a half weeks, 3
weeks later it was submitted to Division of the State Architect and 2 weeks thereafter the
plans were approved. It was truly an incredible feat.
 
While the design for North Park has a central focus on safety and security it also strives to
foster a creative and collaborative learning environment for the students. New classroom
technologies are being provided, demountable partitions have been replaced by permanent
walls and windows are being added in central spaces. Dated cork boards, old ceilings, and floors
with drab olive and beige color schemes were replaced with colorful flooring, new furniture
and magnetic writable walls. Doors and walls now display graphics with faces of iconic and
inspirational historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Plato and
more. Building signs and room numbering were reconfigured and the classroom where the
tragedy took place has been transformed into an open space where students can collaborate,
make, and create. The end result is a vibrant, collaborative, and educational space filled with
vitality and inspiration- a space filled with new life.
 
All of this work could not have been done without the unwavering support and dedication of
our staff and collaborators that assisted us in the revitalization of North Park Elementary
School. Throughout this incredible journey we have been fortunate to recognize an
unparalleled level of support between the contractors and suppliers who changed production
schedules to meet the tight deadlines, subcontractors who made changes instantly and
sometimes in the field, and the District who was extremely supportive of the level of changes
that were being made and how quickly those changes took effect.
 
We offer our sincerest gratitude to the following:
 
OMB Electrical Engineers - Brian Smith and Alex Vicente
 
KNA Structural Engineers - Jason Smith
 
Nack & Associates - David Nack  
 
Spec Studio - Richard Gonser
 
Allegion - Harold Hahn & Kevin Lundberg
 
Caston Inc. - Greg Malachowski & Jeremy Malstrom
 
Vanir Construction - Chad White, Joe Justice, Melissa Acham-Wallace
 
San Bernardino City Unified School District - Tom Pace, Nellie Karbum
 
North Park Principal - Yanira Downing

Arcadia – James Fitzsimmons, who just about halved their timeline for sliding glass doors in order to meet the deadline. They even aligned some of their installers with us in order to ensure meeting the schedule. The General Contractor didn’t have a local installer that would’ve met the timeline due to the usual summer rush for school modernizations.
 
Virco Furniture - Don Kilbury
 
Gerflor Flooring - Alan Grimshaw
 
Division of the State Architect - Craig Rush, Dan Shay, Gary Lau, Don Fenlason (They reviewed the drawings over a holiday weekend to expedite approvals)
 
Preferred Ceilings - Rick Risser
 
Architectural Sign Identity - Angela Trevizo

 Overall Floor Plan

Overall Floor Plan

 Interior Elevation with Writing Surface

Interior Elevation with Writing Surface

 Inspirational Leaders and Words to Live By

Inspirational Leaders and Words to Live By

 Inspirational Leaders and Words to Live By

Inspirational Leaders and Words to Live By

 Inspirational Leaders and Words to Live By

Inspirational Leaders and Words to Live By

 Collaboration Area

Collaboration Area