Jessie Elwin Nelson Academy

Long Beach Unified School District wanted to pilot new ways of teaching and learning through a school built on progressive technology and high efficiency. They needed someone who believed in this vision and could carry it through, so they called on us.

As Long Beach Unified School District’s first campus to broadly integrate wireless iPad technology, Jessie Elwin Nelson Academy provides up-to-date, technology-ready education to its 850 K-8 school students. Envisioning a school enhanced by electronic tools and supported by efficient, environmentally sound features, Long Beach USD asked us to provide architecture and interior design services for their completely new construction of the 89,000 sf facility.

Architecturally, the building takes advantage of the site’s triangular geometry and southern exposure afforded by hillside grade changes. Balconies, walkways and classrooms all benefit from the integral, high performance design strategies. The building masses wrap in acute angles to create social spaces of varying qualities and functions, including a central civic plaza, intimate courtyard and open sports field.

Recycled construction materials, energy-saving and ozone-friendly air conditioning and heating, high efficiency lighting and water-conserving fixtures all promoted Long Beach USD’s desire for environmental sustainability. The resulting facility met both the progressive and efficient goals for the Academy.


Long Beach Unified School District


Long Beach, CA


89,000 sf new construction


Planning, Architecture, Interior Design