After seeing the extraordinary learning spaces and architecture at the newly opened Cadence Park, it is clear why Irvine consistently ranks among the best cities in the nation for its quality of education.
The 94,000-square-foot school is set on a 13-acre campus within Great Park Neighborhoods. It opened for the 2018-19 school year as the newest school in Irvine, the fourth K-8 school in the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) and the district’s 40th school overall.
FivePoint's joint venture funded its construction as IUSD’s development partner.
Cadence Park School was designed by PJHM Architects, an Orange County firm that specializes in innovative schools, and built by C.W. Driver.
Designed to meet the rapidly changing needs of 21st Century students, Cadence Park equips students to develop skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.
Features that make the school unique include dedicated music and science rooms, an innovative library/media center with a story space called the “illumination room,” a large auditorium, a fitness lab and a full-size gymnasium, which is rare in comparable schools. There are indoor and outdoor collaboration spaces throughout the campus that will be used by all grade levels. The 6-8th grade quad includes an outdoor performance pavilion, covered small group instruction areas, space for outdoor science activities and a garden.
Classrooms and learning spaces are highly flexible, offering a variety of seating and work stations for students and teachers that can be easily moved throughout the room and even outdoors. There might be desks, cushions, or benches arranged in rows or circles—however the teachers want them, and not tied to a traditional floor plan.
Even with all the design details and innovative educational facilities, it is the human element that is most essential in preparing kids for a successful future. “Our teachers are the people who are going to make the difference in the lives of the kids,” said Principal Carlo Grasso. “Bringing together teachers that have a passion to innovate, collaborate and learn from one another, to do so against a backdrop of such a flexible facility, is just a remarkable opportunity.”
Beacon Park School and Portola High School were the first two schools to open at Great Park Neighborhoods. The brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities became a part of Irvine Unified School District in 2016.