High School No. 3

Rialto, California

  • FIRM

    Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke


    Rialto Unified School District

  • AREA

    295,000 sq.ft.





The educational planning of High School No. 3 for the Rialto Unified School District was a collaborative effort of nearly 60 committee members—board members, administrators, district personnel, students, community and city representatives. The group envisioned High School No. 3 as being “A flexible facility that can adapt to changes in student and staff needs as ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCOST PER SQ FT$149.15FEATURED IN2000 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYWork in Progress systems continue to evolve in the future.”

Other committee recommendations that served as key organizational design criteria: Maximize the opportunities for integrated instruction; provide safe and efficient student circulation throughout the campus; develop a student center that integrates academic counseling, career guidance, health services and ASB services within easy access of students; develop a ninth-grade academic core that strengthens the instructional relationships and communication between faculty and first-year students; promote after-hours community use of key program spaces; maximize the infusion of student technology resources to facilitate daily instructional support.

The resulting design of this 40-acre facility achieves these goals by encircling the two-story campus building around a central outdoor terraced courtyard and circular pedestrian street. This arrangement provides for an efficient campus footprint that can be easily supervised, minimizes student travel distances and offers ample shelter from the seasonal heat and wind extremes intrinsic to this school’s locale. The administration, media center, performing arts and gymnasium spaces are positioned prominently around an entry forecourt, allowing for after-hours use while maintaining secured access to the remainder of the school.

The instructional program areas are delineated as separate academic core complex buildings clustered radially around a central science and technology core building. These adjacent classroom buildings represent the distinct ninth-grade core, upper-grade-level core and visual/vocational arts core programs. Each is designed to support interdisciplinary teaching methodologies without precluding a more traditional departmentalized instructional delivery in the future. All buildings are networked for data, video and voice communications.

The Students Services Center is accessible from the central courtyard, adjacent to the ninth-grade core complex, and separate from the administration areas to encourage continual usage of these supporting guidance-related services.

Brick veneer and plaster exterior building materials are used to evoke a traditional civic building image, yet be viewed in a more contemporary manner with the introduction of dramatic inverted metal roof forms and modernist detailing. Durability and ease of maintenance for all integrated systems and building components were scrutinized by the district and design team to promote longevity.

Photographer: ©Wayne Thom Photographer