Research and Assessments
Before we could start considering plans for the future, it was critically important for SOM to learn more about the two properties. A team of experts comprising civil engineers, traffic engineers, arborists, historical consultants, architects and more have been studying both our current and future campus.
Over the last five years, the school and SOM have solicited ideas from parents, alumni, students, faculty/staff and neighbors. The feedback has ranged from assessments of current facilities to frustrations over traffic on Lincoln Avenue. The site strategies and options in development by SOM reflect this feedback. In the coming months, there will be additional opportunities to weigh in on options and priorities.
Land Use Considerations
The school operates under a Planned Unit Development (PUD) permit from the City of Oakland. A planned unit development is an integrated development on a relatively large parcel adhering to a comprehensive plan. PUD permits allow flexibility under the zoning code to allow for the creation of attractive, efficient, and stable environments.
As we consider future uses of existing buildings on each side of campus, it was important to evaluate each using the same criteria. SOM created a soft map assessment of each building’s condition, retrofit feasibility, functional re-adaptability and site accessibility.
Trees are abundant on the south campus — contributing to the woodland setting. The landscape team and arborist have examined the tree species, identifying Monterey Pines, oaks, Monterey Cypress, podocarpus, redwoods, eucalyptus and Italian Stone Pine and assessed their health. The trees provide scale and character and will be an important feature on both sides of Lincoln.
Head-Royce’s current campus has stunning views from some of the newer buildings and from the athletic fields. The new campus has more sweeping views, from more parts of campus. In consideration of our neighbors, SOM has also conducted view studies to consider how the development of our campus can capitalize on these views, while being considerate of the views of our neighbors to the east.
One of the most interesting — and challenging — factors in this project is finding a way to link the two campuses. Lincoln Avenue is a major thoroughfare with automotive and bus traffic. How can the two campuses be connected so that children, faculty and visitors can walk between the two without having to cross a city street? This is the question that has been examined, with a tunnel as the top option to link the two sides.
We are fortunate to live in a place with temperate weather, where we can enjoy the outdoors for many months out of the year. There has been a tremendous focus on understanding the natural characteristics of each site, including the watershed. The landscape architects want to understand the ecology of our project with the goal of creating a beautiful, sustainable landscape appropriate for our East Bay location.