Cahuilla Elementary School

Palm Springs, California

  • FIRM

    WWCOT | Mills Architects


    Palm Springs Unified School District

  • AREA

    50,550 sq.ft.





Cahuilla Elementary School was named for the Native American tribe that first inhabited the Palm Springs area. This school was intended to honor that heritage in a manner complementing the surrounding mid-1950s residential neighborhood. This replacement school was constructed on the 7.7-acre site of the original 1940s facility.

The two-story classroom building and ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY650COST PER SQ FT$137.49FEATURED IN2001 Architectural Portfolio bridge structure were developed to provide more play areas on the extremely tight site. The two-story portion was in the center of the site to reduce its visual impact on neighboring residents.

Protected natural light is provided through a steel-pipe frame structure with perforated metal screens, which creates a light and airy canopy. The single-story buildings are wood frame and plaster with a tube-steel main roof structure. The two-story buildings and site walls are masonry with the same roof structure as the single story.

The school features a district-operated energy-management system. It controls individual air handlers with timed manual override; shutoff for prolonged open doors; and a motion-detection shutoff of each mechanical system as well as the lighting. The lighting is mostly indirect fluorescent with motion sensors operating dual-level switching.