The Innovations Academy is a K-8 public charter school located on a large suburban site in San Diego operating out of 36 portable classroom buildings. The site is planned for future development by the District requiring the school to relocate to an existing 2-story 36-year-old commercial /industrial office building in Kearney Mesa area of San Diego.

The adaptive reuse of this vacant office building proposed a challenge to reinvent the learning environment for this school into a dynamic, collaborative, and innovative experience for students. Through creative engineering and innovative planning these goals were achieved. The existing building required a complete structural/seismic upgrade, reconfiguration of interior office/industrial spaces, and redesign of the site to accommodate school traffic and innovative outdoor learning spaces within the confines this small 2.5 acre site. Due to the eminent plans for the redevelopment of the original site, the planning and construction schedule was conducted under an aggressively accelerated timeframe.

As an inquiry-based campus, the school structures its programs through self-expression, compassionate connection, and purposeful learning. The campus design creates an environment in which students feel encouraged to explore and learn. Key planning elements included:

  • Collaborative multi-grade multi-age environment
  • Academic program alignment
  • Student safety & campus security
  • Creative design for flexibility and future change
  • Nature Studies Outdoor Learning Labs
  • Indoor Fitness Lab and Gymnasium
  • Outdoor Challenge Course


Location: San Diego, California

District: San Diego USD

Size: 62,000 SF

Cost: $35.6 M

Completion: 2020

First Floor Plan

Second Floor Plan