(MKThink)

Emeryville Center of Community Life, Emeryville, California, USA
Owners: Emery Unified School District and city of Emeryville
Developers: Turner Construction Company, Swinerton Management & Consulting
Designers: Nexus Partners, DSK Architects, Mark Seiberlich Concordia, Steven Bingler, MKThink, Steve Kelley)
Size: 7.6 acres (3 ha)  

The Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) is a groundbreaking joint-use partnership between the Emery Unified School District (EUSD) and the city of Emeryville. The $96 million center brings educational, health, family, and recreational services onto one central site and provides opportunities for other partners to offer community-enriching services. The ECCL maximizes the return on investment of taxpayer dollars by optimizing facility use and providing an important community resource for all Emeryville residents.  

Located on seven acres (3 ha), the 130,000-square-foot (12,000 sq m) center features 21st-century flexible science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM) classrooms; a dedicated community welcome center/community multiuse space/senior lounge that provides a venue for community events, weddings, and banquets; prekindergarten on-site daycare; a 13,000-square-foot (1,200 sq m) family wellness center and school-based health and dental clinic; a school and community library; a large central community commons used during the day for school recreation and play and during nonschool hours as a community event space; school cafeteria spaces that convert into community-accessible multiuse event and performance space; community kitchen facilities; school and community recreation resources, including a cardio fitness center, dance studio, swimming pool, and new athletic fields; and space for vocational, job training, and community college classes.  

The design process actively engaged the EUSD school board, the City-Schools Committee, teachers, city and district staff, the EUSD Facilities Committee, planning staff, and community members through a variety of events that included more than 20 community design workshops. These workshops established common ground for disparate groups and led to a design that was embraced through extensive community participation. The process itself cultivated critical community participation, with outreach targeted especially to youth and the full age and demographic spectrum that makes up the Emeryville community.