The new lab with its large glass-panel roll-up doors really stands out from other school buildings on the school’s campus at 6550 Soledad Mountain Road.
Founded in 1988, San Diego French-American School today serves 365 pre-K to 8th-grade students ages 2 to 13. The school’s mission is to provide a rigorous dual-language immersion curriculum and unique multicultural experience.
For more than 29 years, SDFAS has been offering a world-class education with an international perspective, through a carefully planned curriculum and by providing the materials and facilities necessary to prepare students for the 21st-century world.
“The School is working to upgrade its environment and make it more future-oriented,” said Mashal Jesse, SDFAS sales manager, noting the classroom project, started in April, was “hard to find a contractor for,” as the roll-up doors “were an extraordinary request.”
Jesse added, “The idea of garage glass-panel roll-up doors was originated from one of the school’s teachers looking to plant the idea that many innovations and great technologies are nurtured in garages in simple houses.”
Francois Tregouet, SDFAS’s STEAM Coordinator and 3rd Grade teacher, came up with the idea to use as much glass as possible, and put in garage glass-panel doors, said Jesse.
S3DA-Design, a San Diego based Design/Build company, provided a turnkey solution, assisting the school in bringing the new classroom in on time ready for the 2018-2019 school year.
“The school was looking to set up a Robotics Lab, a technology classroom that should look special and attract school children encouraging them to be enthusiastic and learn better,” said Jesse. “They were determined to set up this new classroom before the end of August, requesting to use as much glass work as possible in order to let sunlight flow into the lab to provide a vivid educational space.”
Jesse added the robotics lab was a challenging project with a constrained budget, tight time line and no existing old drawings and resources. Since the French-American School is in a wealthy community, Jesse said students’ parents expected a high-end aesthetic and extraordinary building, if not a unique one.
The school was initially looking to utilize shipping containers to make the building extraordinary. But it was realized early on that shipping containers are quite new and might not pass the DSA permit process. It would take months to get passed, and would not be a good option cost wise.
S3DA-Design had to think out the best possible solution. The school’s desire to have the new classroom in before the 2018-19 school year made the project difficult, especially since the school wanted to have this new classroom before the new 2018-2019 school year.
Finally, the Modular building option seemed to be more feasible and the garage roll-up panel doors seemed to work in that type of building and within the allotted timeframe.
The next challenge was the budget. As the school is privately funded, a gala was organized in late March 2018. Parents gathered and helped in fund raising.
Added Jesse, “The project has now come to life due to the work-ethic and determination of the school facility manager, the teachers and the parents along with the contractor, S3DA-Design, contributing.”