Construction Underway at Upper Campus
By Tracy Wilson
Construction is underway on a $16-million building project that will replace the dormitory and science center destroyed by the Thomas Fire while adding a long-awaited Student Commons to the west end of the Upper Campus.
The project includes the new Grace Hobson Smith House dormitory for resident girl and the new Aramont Science and Technology Center, which will integrate science, technology, and the arts. The center will include a makerspace for robotics, physics, chemistry, biology and environmental science labs, a digital and media arts lab, a social science seminar room, and a multipurpose room for performing arts.
The much-anticipated Littlefield Student Commons will include a spacious dining hall, kitchen, student lounge, reading porch and library, a new college counseling office and learning center, and meeting rooms for small classes. At 12,590 square feet, the Commons will replace the existing cafeteria with a modern facility that can accommodate 260 people. It will also include a shady outdoor dining terrace and garden.
Before the pandemic, construction crews had mostly completed installation of the underground utilities, storm drains, and trenching. More recently, they raised steel support beams and completed framing for the three buildings. The project is expected to be completed by Spring 2021.
The design by Los Angeles architect Frederick Fisher & Partners embraces the mid-century roots of the Upper Campus and blurs the lines between inside and outside using glass, stucco, warm wood accents, and ample landscaping. The buildings are expected to meet LEED gold standards for environmental sustainability and they are designed to be highly fire resistant.
Ojai Valley School has received more $13 million in gifts, pledges, and other funds toward the project, but the campaign to rebuild is far from over. To help furnish and complete these buildings, contact our development team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (805) 646-1423 for more information.