Located in the heart of Orange County, Mater Dei High School is the largest Catholic high school west of Chicago. The school provides a holistic approach to education through a comprehensive college-preparatory curriculum, spiritual education and a variety of service and social programs.
Located in the heart of Orange County, Mater Dei High School is the largest Catholic high school west of Chicago. The school provides a holistic approach to education through a comprehensive college-preparatory curriculum, spiritual education and a variety of service and social programs. Mater Dei’s Blue Ribbon Committee developed a Master Plan to create a campus that would continue to provide students with an environment that promotes excellence. School administrators called on The Austin Company to help them fulfill their mission.
The Austin Company designed and engineered two new buildings that were critical to Mater Dei’s overall Master Plan — the 13,000-square-foot LeVecke Student Activities Center and the 55,000-square-foot Borchard Family Library Academic Services Complex.
The inspiration for the buildings’ designs was Mater Dei’s dedication to the development of the whole person and maintaining a heightened sense of spirituality. Details, such as hints of cross motifs in corner-window mullions and in stair and balcony railing infills, communicate the school’s focus back to students and visitors. From any vantage point on campus, students and their families have a sense of welcoming — nearly all of the facades promote an inviting atmosphere through the virtual absence of service entrances or “backsides” to each building.
In addition to creating an aesthetically enriching environment, Austin’s design team addressed the school’s functional requirements. Value engineering sessions were conducted to assure functional requirements were met while keeping the budget on track. Value engineering sessions resulted in defined exterior plaza space; the distribution of heavier components, such as library stacks, at the ground-floor; and the selection of bullet-resistant windows that would not compromise the views into and from within the building. Split-face masonry units in school colors were used at the ground floors. They serve as an aesthetic base and an acoustical buffer fromstreet noise while satisfying seismic and structural requirements.
Despite some obstacles, including limited space, site constraints, high water tables and poor soil conditions, the project was completed on time and within budget.
Borchard Family Library Academic Services Complex
The Borchard Family Library Academic Services Complex serves as a focal point for academic excellence. The complex was designed to include a new state-of-the-art academic wing with 22 classrooms, a science wing with state-of-the-art science labs and lecture rooms, a college and career guidance center, a learning center, a library and a multi-media computer center.
LeVecke Student Activities Center
The LeVecke Student Activities Center is the campus hub for social activities, dining and group meetings. The outdoor dining area is covered by a curved sloping canopy that complements the curved wall of the new campus chapel. The line of sight from the activities center toward the chapel reinforces the importance of the chapel, cross and the skies above as the campus focal point.