The form and composition of Mission Hills High School reflects a contrast and compatibility of architectural concepts. The need for a unique approach to a design solution is evident by the sloping topography of this site. The site is over 10 acres below the size recommended by CDE for a campus of 2,400 students.  The design team worked to achieve a design for a comprehensive high school that efficiently utilized the acreage and blended with the rural surroundings.

The placement of buildings on top of the hill takes advantage of prevailing breezes, optimizes opportunities for views, and maintains a sufficient distance from traffic noise. The unique campus layout is identified by three specific ‘zones’. The Administration, Library and Arts Programs embody the Spirit of the Campus. The Classroom Complex of buildings represent the Mind and the Athletic facilities  serve the Body. The state-of-the-art facilities accommodate comprehensive programs in Visual Arts, Athletics and Fitness, Science and Research, and Vocational Arts. The Hospitality and Tourism program features a full service commercial training kitchen and is also used by the local Community Colleges ROP program.  Unique flexible research and development Labs are designed to support the school’s Environmental Sciences program.


Location: San Marcos, California

District: San Marcos Unified School District

Size: 245,000 SF, 45.3 Acre Site

Cost: $55 M

Completion: 2004

Awards: Honor Award, Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH Award of Honor 2001)

Reduced Energy Use

  • Energy Efficient Systems
  • Ventilation/Indoor Air Quality
  • Energy Efficient Lights/Occupancy

Reduced Water Use

  • Low Flow and Water Efficient
  • Bioswale
  • Enhanced Acoustics

View Windows

  • View Windows
  • Recycled Materials
  • Enhanced Commissioning

Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.

Richard NowickiPartner