Meyer & Allen Associates

Dr. Sammy Lee Magnet Elementary School

Location:Los Angeles, CA
Size:56,000 sq. ft.

Faced with the challenge of locating a needed elementary school in an area where no new sites were available, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) turned to M&AA to help it redevelop Virgil Middle School’s play area for an elementary school, while building replacement playfields and parking facilities on adjacent properties.  The implementation plan for the school comprised three phases to ensure the continuous availability of the middle school’s playfields and parking.

Complicating this phased construction program were the facts that:

  • The school and replacement playfields were to be built on toxic sites which required remediation and installation of a permanent gas mitigation system; and
  • The two-story school lies on a site which is subject to liquefaction and, as a result, needed to be constructed on driven piles, with a structural first floor slab to allow the ground to settle from one to three inches below it in the event of an earthquake.


Despite the challenges of the sites and implementation program, the project was completed within its original budget.  M&AA’s design provides for an elegantly designed school and site, with additional site amenities such as a teaching garden and informal amphitheater.