Portola High School Receives Best of the Best K-12 Education Award

IUSD design and construction team receiving ENR award

The Irvine Unified School District has received two prestigious design and construction awards for Portola High School from Engineering News-Record (ENR).  This state-of-the-art education facility, which opened in August 2016, was honored with the Best of the Best K-12 Education Award in California and in the nation.

According to ENR, “This announcement comes as the culmination of a nearly year-long effort put forth by dozens of industry judges and the ENR editorial team to identify the pinnacle of design and construction achievement in the entire U.S. among projects completed between May 2016 and May 2017.

“Portola is our first high school built in accordance with IUSD’s award winning Education Specifications,” said IUSD Board of Education President Sharon Wallin.  “These specifications detail the features needed to support instruction and 21st century learning at the highest levels and are the result of collaboration with our teachers, administrators, facilities staff and architects.  On behalf of the District and the Board of Education, we are immensely proud of our Facilities and Construction team for their innovative implementation of IUSD’s vision and we thank our partners HMC Architects and C.W. Driver.”    

Portola High School Principal, John Pehrson, and his students have experienced firsthand the many innovative and unique educational benefits this facility has to offer.  “To be able to pursue our vision in this state-of-the-art facility has been a dream come true,” said Pehrson.  “Many times the facility can get in the way of what is trying to be accomplished, but at Portola, it actually inspires us to do even more than we can imagine.” 

Portola High School features include:

  • Performing arts building that embodies the District’s commitment to visual and performing arts and is a space for student’s creativity to thrive.
  • Collaborative and flexible learning spaces
  • A makers space and an innovation lab
  • Dedicated science labs
  • Energy efficient design
  • Living Green roof
  • A special education facility to foster essential life skills
  • A wide range of top-level athletic facilities that extends learning from the classrooms to the fields, courts and pool.

When discussing the importance of these features in helping shape well-rounded students who are prepared for college and career, Superintendent Terry Walker said, “Portola’s design creates an environment for students to engage, problem solve, take intellectual risks, and work together in flexible learning spaces, where they can share their thoughts and ideas with their peers and educators, as part of their everyday learning process.”

Portola High School will be featured in the March 5 issue of ENR and project teams will be honored during the Award of Excellence gala on April 5.