September 16, 2021

LABJ Insider: The New School


More than a million kids are starting the school year in L.A. County. And just days after I dropped my kids off for their first day, I revisited my alma mater, Santa Monica High School — virtually, for now — to learn about its new $154 million Discovery Building.

It’s the first open-building-concept educational structure in the United States, according to James Mary O’Connor, principal at Santa Monica-based architecture and planning firm Moore Ruble Yudell and one of the lead architects on the project.

Open building, in its simplest definition, means flexible. Rather than halls of static classrooms, the 265,000-square-foot structure has spaces that…

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