Liberty High School Engineering Agri-Science and Farming (LEAF) Academy
These days it’s not surprising that high schools, as great learning labs, are preparing students for advanced careers and to be better stewards of the environment. Liberty High School in Madera, California, is an ideal location for a program in this agricultural-rich area. Located a three-hour drive from San Francisco and four hours from Los Angeles, this community is well-known for its proud agricultural heritage and large FFA and 4-H memberships. Madera County produces over 1.2 billion dollars in agriculture every year, so when Golden Valley Unified School District needed to expand their campus with a new Engineering Agri-Science and Farming Academy, they turned to school designers SGH Architects (SGH) of Redlands, California.
Supporting a Client’s Vision
Designing for such a unique learning space is a welcome challenge for SGH, and for our engineers at KNA. We enjoy being a part of SGH’s design and providing structural engineering solutions for their vision to come alive. Our experience in designing structural systems for schools ensures the school district will have a project designed within their budget and have a campus that fits their culture.
Although most of the consultants were selected because of their location in the Central Valley and their familiarity with the school district, SGH Architects (SGH) insisted on utilizing KNA specifically because of their expertise with this type of project.”
—Scott Griffith, Principal, SGH Architects
Smart, Creative Engineering Solutions
The project had lofty goals and a tight budget. KNA was tasked to provide an economical, creative approach to the structural systems that would meet the rigors of DSA review and contain costs. SGH and KNA collaborated on the design and strategic structural components to lighten the overall weight of steel and thereby decreasing the cost of the structural systems. We were able to maintain the architecture’s open, flexible spaces within the interior of the buildings for the occupants, both two and four-legged. Yes, cattle, swine and rabbits along with gardens will be part of the learning environment.
The project also includes an elevated, functioning water tower and very large bi-folding pivot doors to form both indoor and outdoor combined spaces. An additional learning environment is the Water Science Lab, which will be located adjacent to the school’s water treatment plant.
- Career Technical Education (CTE) Building
- Agriculture Show Pavilion
- Sheep/Goats Pole Barn Building
- Swine Pole Barn
- Cattle Pole Barn
- Fowl/Rabbit Pole Barn
The project consists of the following new structures:
Project Name: Liberty High School Engineering Agri-Science and Farming (LEAF) Academy
Project Owner: Golden Valley Unified School District
Architect: SGH Architects
SGH Project Manager: Miguel Ramos
KNA Project Manager: Kevin Westervelt
KNA Project Engineer: Paloma Grant
Project Size: 35,000 sf including animal shelters
Project Cost: $16 million
Completion Date: 11/2019
Schools play a distinctive role in supporting healthy communities, and this school is no exception. A farmer’s market is planned as well as community events that will frequently use the barns and show pavilion.
Advancing Net Zero Energy
By incorporating water technology strategies and getting energy resources from an existing solar farm adjacent to the school, the project will strive for a net zero footprint once the project goes online and its energy use can be measured.
CTE: Education Through Hands-on Experience
The CTE program has 15 Career Clusters that are based on the workforce requirements needed for California. Liberty High School’s academy falls under the Agriculture and Natural Resources track. This training includes classroom instruction on crop science, raising livestock, leadership skills and other supervised agricultural experiences to prepare students for college or entrance into agricultural careers. LEAF is an opportunity for students to make education “come alive.”
KNA welcomes the opportunity to meet with you. Give us a call at 949-462-3200 or please email me, Kevin Westervelt.