The historic Nystrom Elementary School was originally constructed in 1943 by the Kaiser Company for the US Maritime Commission to serve as the primary elementary school for the children of workers in the nearby shipyards. By the turn of the 21st century, the building had exceeded its lifespan. Interactive Resources designed a complete modernization and historical rehabilitation of the 48,000 sf, two-story classroom and administration building and the construction of a brand new 14,000 sf state-of-the-art multipurpose building to double as a community center for the surrounding neighborhood. The entire campus was renovated, reconstructed and redesigned, including improvements to adjacent streets and sidewalks, the addition of a class 1 regional trail supported by a “walkable schools” grant and all new parking and play areas. The multipurpose building includes a kitchen/cafeteria and the auditorium is also used as a cafeteria for school lunches.
The two-story, L-shaped main building features a low-slope roof and a wood-frame structure clad in redwood shiplap siding. The two rectilinear wings are connected by a recessed two-story entrance. The building is modern in style with a strong expression of horizontal and minimal ornamentation. The original fenestration pattern and configuration, exterior redwood siding and trim, decorative wood medallions, interior flooring at the second floor and selected interior wood trim remain intact. Overall, the building maintains sufficient integrity to convey its historical significance.
The project was designed to meet the criteria of the Collaborative Initiative for High Performance Schools, and received funding from the State of California through the DSA’s High Performance Incentive program. The school and grounds incorporate many sustainable design features, including a “landscape for learning” where each class can have its own garden, re-use of the old maple flooring on the second floor, countertops made from recycled paper and glass bottles, and re-use of over 75% of the exterior redwood siding.
“I have worked with the Architectural & Engineering Team from Interactive Resources on a variety of projects here at the West Contra Costa Unified School District. The firm has completed major renovations, new buildings, and full campus reconstructions for the District. The Principals, Tom Butt and Andrew Butt have provided the District with a consistently high level of service on all of our projects. Interactive Resources has worked with the District on one of the most complex community based projects in our program. They have been a part of the NURVE (Nystrom United Revitalization Effort) program as the Architects on the Nystrom Elementary School Reconstruction. The NURVE process has involved extensive community interaction, meetings and coordination between the multiple stakeholders who are a part of the work underway in the area. Interactive Resources team played a key role in facilitating collaborative design process involving the School District and our Nystrom Elementary School, the City of Richmond, two Charter Schools, the Rosie the Riveter Trust, National Park Service, and local community organizations. The first major projects are underway at the NURVE area, including the new Multi-Purpose Building at Nystrom Elementary School designed by Interactive Resources. One of the strengths of the Interactive Resources team is their in-house engineering capabilities. This allows for stronger coordination of the major structural and architectural elements in the building design and has resulted in high quality construction documents.Interactive Resources has been a leader in sustainable design practices on our District projects. They have utilized the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) standards, which are green building standards for schools. The designs for the Nystrom Elementary project are at the highest point levels for the District and represent buildings with significant energy savings during future operations. I strongly recommend Interactive Resources for your consideration to provide Architectural and Engineering is on your projects. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions.”
—William Savidge, Engineering Officer, WCCUSD (formerly)