Center for Early Education
Construction Manager / Owner's Rep
MATT completed a five-phase project for the Center for Early Education, whose mission is to foster a vibrant campus and community for elementary school students. Because of CEE’s location on the busy corner of La Cienega and Melrose and the multi-purpose nature of the buildings, sound attenuating insulation and other sound-dampening materials were installed to manage acoustics.
Phases 0, 1 and 2 saw the demolition of existing structures, followed by concurrent construction of the utility yard, La Cienega Building and Alfred House. Alfred House comprises early childhood classrooms and daycare for kindergarteners. The La Cienega building houses classroom and office spaces, a rooftop play yard and a new gymnasium as well as the work of artist Friedrich Kunath.
Phase 3 involved the construction of the Clinton Building, a four-story structure with garage parking adjacent to the La Cienega Building and Building C. It holds a first-floor outdoor play yard, classrooms, office space and a rooftop play yard. A high pressure water spring running beneath the site made excavation tricky, running the risk of releasing a 30-foot high geyser in West Hollywood if the team bored too deeply. They came up with a dewatering operation to pump groundwater out and set a geotechnical monitor in place to keep track of exactly where and how deep to dig.
The fourth and final phase entailed construction of a beautiful new artificial turf playing field. Class A fire-rated synthetic turf replaced the existing, limited concrete play area. The team also erected block security walls and fabric-wrapped steel gates to maximize privacy. Off-site improvements consisted of a new parking lot, new alleyway and new La Cienega sidewalk.
One of the school’s prominent architectural features, a massive tile lattice, extends four floors and wraps around a sprawling structural steel apparatus designed to resemble a tree. Built to West Hollywood Green Building Standards, the campus not only boasts green roofs and a green wall, but also a system of 14 flow-through planters to reclaim the natural artesian groundwater for irrigation, which took years of coordination and BIM modeling to design and implement. Any water that hits the site will be fed into a cistern, tree well or planter, then get pumped, filtered and circulated again before overflowing into the city storm system.
The school year largely dictated scheduling and was the primary reason for phasing the project. As soon as a new building was completed, students moved into it, and the next building site had to be ready for work. The hard deadline of each semester’s start date and daily check-ins from on-site superintendents kept the schedule on track.
Safety and coordination remained key priorities throughout the construction process. MATT’s team made a daily effort to inform CEE personnel about ongoing jobsite activities and updates. In order to maximize student safety, for example, the team planned critical construction activities like steel erection during summer break.
Photo Credit: Benny Chan