Fresno, California

Program: A two-story, 110,000-square-foot academic and administration building at Fresno City College, with classrooms, an auditorium, flexible community space, and offices for faculty and administrators. Organized like a pair of boxes, the Spanish Renaissance building features arcaded loggias that surround two adjacent courtyards. Though the structure, completed in 1916, is on the National Register of Historic Places, it closed in 1976 when new seismic regulations took effect for California's community colleges.


Design concept and solution: The architects needed to restore and modernize the building, which had been subjected to decay and weather damage in the 30-plus years since it closed. They refurbished the Roman brick on the exterior and restored the orange tile accents laid into the brickwork. On the roof, they removed the original clay tiles, reinforced the wood roof trusses and replaced damaged wood before reinstalling the roof tiles. The architects' strategy was to conceal the structural upgrades behind interior finishes; for example, shotcrete, installed behind most of the brick exterior walls, is hidden by interior plaster walls and wood paneling. ELS preserved the building's layout but inserted restrooms and service spaces, burying the new plumbing, sprinklers, and electrical infrastructure in wall cavities and attics. The classrooms and offices retained their high ceilings, original wood windows, and strip maple floors. The architects restored the floors but, to help the community college save money, coated them with an extra (and ultimately reversible) finish that simplifies maintenance.

Completion Date: January 2011

Total construction cost: $39.2 million

State Center Community College District

ELS Architecture and Urban Design
2040 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
P 510.549.2929
F 510.843.3304


State Center Community College District

ELS Architecture and Urban Design
2040 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
P 510.549.2929
F 510.843.3304

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Kurt Schindler, Principal-in-Charge, Registered Architect
Diana Hayton, Registered Architect
Jim Stone, Registered Architect
Amy Leong
Tim Reynolds
Nancy Bardach
Am Amnuaydejkorn
Michael Reuter

Architect of record: ELS Architecture and Urban Design

Associate architect: Edwin S. Darden Associates, Inc. (programming & specifications)

Interior designer: ELS Architecture and Urban Design

Engineer(s): Structural: A.T. Merovich & Associates, Inc.; Mechanical & Plumbing: Lawrence Nye Anderson; Electrical: The Engineering Enterprise; Civil: Blair, Church & Flynn.

Landscape: Robert Boro Landscape Architects
Lighting: Loop Lighting Design & Consulting (custom lighting)
Acoustical: Charles M. Salter Associates
Other: The Shalleck Collaborative (Theater)

General contractor:
Harris Construction Co., Inc. (construction manager)

Photographer: David Wakely, 415.861.7503,

Renderer(s) and credit as they should appear:

CAD system, project management, or other software used: Autocad



Exterior cladding

Masonry: Sullivan Masonry & Restoration (brick and cast stone restoration), San Francisco, CA
Wood: Davis Moreno Construction, Inc. (restored decorative wood), Fresno, CA


Elastomeric: GACO LM-60
Tile/shingles: Graham Prewitt, Inc., (restored/matched clay tile)


Wood: Wooden Window, Inc., Oakland, CA


Wood doors: Restored – Wooden Window, Inc., Oakland, CA


Locksets: Schalge
Hinges: McKinney
Closers: Norton
Exit devices: Von Duprin

Interior finishes

Acoustical ceilings: Hunter Douglas-Techstyle; Wall Technology, Inc.-Eurospan
Wallcoverings: Wall Technology, Inc.
Wood Paneling: Davis Moreno Construction, Inc.
Ceramic Floor and wall tile: Daltile
Resilient flooring: Armstrong
Carpet: Lees; Bentley Prince Street, Inc.


Fixed seating: Somerset Studios (restored theatre seating)


Historic interior lighting: Borden Lighting, San Leandro, CA
Historic Exterior Lighting: Borden Lighting, San Leandro, CA


Accessibility provision (lifts, ramping, etc.): McKinley Elevator (lift)