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The College Preparatory School

Teaching Through Building

A collection of new academic buildings fosters a sustainable, inclusive campus.

Mission Driven Design

The College Preparatory School is known for its forward-looking mission, one that encompasses environmental stewardship and community engagement. Tucked within Oakland’s hilly Rockridge neighborhood, the independent high school has long demanded a level of innovation to make the most of its sloping topography and wooded grounds. The brief for JENSEN, to replace outdated portable classrooms with modern academic buildings, ultimately unlocked broader opportunities to advance College Prep’s vision for a sustainable campus that teaches by example.

College Prep Aerial Perspective

Campus Heart

With the completion of this expansion, the entire campus gains a heightened sense of place. A modern take on Oakland’s shingled bungalows, the new academic buildings nest thoughtfully into the hillside and recenter the campus around a renovated central courtyard. At the ground level, the student lounge, admissions center, and restrooms activate this new commons. Above, a wider floorplate afforded by the sloping hillside accommodates eight classrooms, an IT lab, and faculty offices. On sunny days all of this activity spills out into terraced outdoor flexspaces, one featuring artist Ali Ebektar’s hand-made tile mural, Luminous Ground. A strategically situated elevator and grand stair complete a connectivity loop uniting the entire multi-level campus for all.

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CollegePrep_Upper Plaza
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03 CPS

All Electric, Zero Net Energy

Designing for zero-net energy performance began with optimizing passive design strategies. Clerestories, operable windows, and overhangs enable passively ventilated and naturally lit classrooms and learning spaces — healthy environments where students, teachers, and administrators can do their best work. High-performing building insulation above and robust concrete foundations and retaining walls below buffer the building from heat and cold. With these measures in place, the rooftop photovoltaic system easily covers the demands of the building’s VRF heating and cooling system, hot water and other electrical needs and eliminates the need for fossil fuels.

College Prep Sustainability Diagram
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Purpose-Built Classrooms

In the classroom, CPS’s teachers emphasize collaboration, interaction and curiosity, and also understand how a flexible, light-filled space can benefit learning. To support these practices, JENSEN wrapped the classroom in an active band composed of white boards, pin-up space, and flat screens. Where the band gives way to windows, an extended custom wood cabinet stretches the length of room, concealing supplies and materials as well as network, audiovisual, and air conditioning equipment. Acoustic ceiling panels anticipate excited and enthusiastic discussions.

Second Floor Plan Labeled
First Floor Plan Labeled
The College Preparatory School


Designed for Zero-Net Energy (certification pending)


2023 AIA California, Design for Well-Being Award
2023 AIA East Bay, Honor Award


Project Leads
Mark Jensen
Steven Huegli
Project Team
Chris Kalos
Sean Niu
Hyona Lim
Jennifer Redel


Lutsko Associates
BKF Engineers
Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing
Engineering 350
Environmental Engineer
Atelier Ten
BKF Engineers
Public Art Installation
Ala Ebtekar


Overaa Construction


Bruce Damonte
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