William C. Overfelt High School – Music, Art and Administration New Building & Central Quad Modernization


W.C. Overfelt High School is committed to the intellectual development of their students. The school’s vision is to graduate critical and creative thinkers with the resilience to achieve in college and career. W. C. Overfelt High School creates a safe learning environment in which students can master the knowledge essential for developing higher level thinking skills. The design objective of the capitol improvement project is not only to illustrate these values through physical form, but also to re-align the school’s presence and point of arrival for the students and the community. The design solution for the project will embrace these opportunities with a highly functional and prominent structure that respects the existing architectural vernacular in massing, compliments and enhances campus circulation, supports the fundamental spirit of the school, and is responsive to the environment by incorporating sustainable design in a visible manner. The improvements will provide the elevated 21st Century identity to which the campus aspires. The project will also be a major driving force in the future modernization efforts of the surrounding buildings.

The subcomponents of this project include:

  • Demolition of Building H, Building I, and food service building

The programs in buildings H & I will relocate to the new building and allow greater potential for growth at the courtyard. The design solution for the food service building will allow food service to serve more students simultaneously, by providing a new structure with an open environment integrated into the courtyard planning.

  • New Classrooms

The piano and guitar rooms will provide a venue for students to rehearse and read music, use musical vocabulary, focus on quality (rather than volume), and produce and create music individually or in an ensemble. The design intent is to create a flexible environment that will fit within the instructional models of a technology enabled studio.

  • Art Classrooms

The art rooms will provide environments that allow students a space for impassioned creative exploration. The art rooms will promote visual literacy while providing an opportunity for students to discover their own unique style, artistic expression, and creativity. These core skills help improve artistic capabilities and provide the necessary background for students to formulate and express opinions about their own work, their peers’ work, and the work of the masters.

The areas of study will include: traditional film photography, ceramic arts, and visual arts studios.

  • Theater / Great Hall

The objective of the theater program is to provide a setting for students to excel in a small format venue. The Great Hall will be a venue in which both the stage and seating configuration can be arranged in a variety of ways—suiting the creative choices of the artistic team with practically limitless versatility. The Great Hall will include all of the support spaces necessary to produce quality productions.

  • Administrative Workplace

The W.C. Overfelt Administrative Workplace will be organized to effectively lead the school, fulfill its educational vision, and to serve students, faculty, alumni and friends of the school. The Administrative Workplace will provide an atmosphere of well-distributed spaces that support frequent interaction and are blended into areas for both individual and group work. This will make it comfortable for staff to shift quickly between modes of work. An administrator may need to focus deeply while meeting with a teacher, move to a nearby project room to collaborate, and afterward break away with one other person to concentrate on a task. Physical proximity of these spaces facilitates quick switching between work modes. Key design features will include: An open plan that encourage natural interactions, common areas that encourage workers to leave confined offices, an emphasis on areas that hold two or more people, and spaces which encourage workers to do their thinking in the presence of other people, rather than alone.

  • Central Quad Modernization

Since the school opened in 1962, there has been ample time for the trees to grow and spread their shade. The W.C Overfelt campus is an assemblage of mature trees, with pleasant connections to the surrounding buildings and the campus core. The courtyard design will provide a thoughtful response to the existing topography and take visual cues from the eastern hills of San Jose, native plants of California, and provide strategic opportunities for shade. The courtyard will be developed with individual focal points connected by receding landscape forms and outdoor art. The landscape and hardscape will create a sense of community and a cooperative atmosphere for outdoor gathering and learning. The entire project will depend on successfully integrating natural features and new features with ease.

The courtyard will create an environment where events can be staged, and where Overfelt students can gather informally outside of the classroom. A successful design will create an environment that will retain students on campus and encourage their involvement in student life.

Project Budget:  $32.4M

Project Status:   Request For Proposals for Design Build Entities

Completion/Beneficial Occupancy:   March 2021

Business Partners: 

Bridging Architect:  Aedis Architects

Construction Manager:  Van Pelt Construction Services

Design Build Entity:  TBD