May 15, 2021

South Bay’s VIP Village Preschool wins modular building awards

By Bob Nicholson, Vice President EH&A

South Bay Union School District is celebrating having won two awards of distinction for the newly constructed preschool facility in Imperial Beach California. The Awards of Distinction are the highest honors the modular construction industry awards within the modular category. EH&A is proud to have been a part of this project.

Located at 1001 Fern Avenue in Imperial Beach, the community will enjoy this “new” VIP Village Preschool project that was completed in October 2020. The project was funded through community support of a local general obligation bond, Measure NN, that provided $18 million for the construction of the new facility.

The Modular Building Institute awarded the project two Awards of Distinction to recognize its architectural excellence, technical innovation, sustainability, and cost effectiveness. The facility won first place in Permanent Modular Education category for the over 10,000 square feet category, and the Judge’s Choice overall.

The facility consist of 30,160 square feet with 21 new classrooms that include facility improvements for 21st Century Teaching and Learning Environment. The facility was conceived with a holistic concept approach and includes new office space with conference space, a parent volunteer room, a full-service modern kitchen facility, employee lounge, resource specialist rooms, a health office, and a multi-purpose facility. The multi-purpose facility will be used as a cafeteria and has a stage for presentations, student performances, and other special events.

A great deal of care was taken to design landscape features suitable for the age group occupying the campus. Features such as a nature walk, with several friendly insects and butterfly features along its winding path, are provided for interest. Also included is a playground structure and tricycle track. The tricycle track will host an annual tricycle race, that has become a tradition on this campus.

The original facility was constructed in 1992 in a cluster of 16 brightly painted portable buildings and provided classes for 525 of the Districts youngest students. Family participation was one of many secrets to the success of the original VIP Village. As the program became more popular in the community, additional portable classrooms were added bringing the total classroom count to 24. The new facility will certainly raise the bar and provide continued success for the student population.

The facility has served over 20,000 students over the past 29 years. The 24 classrooms included 18 state funded classes for low-income students, 2 classes supported by the District, and 4 special education programs. No single factor is responsible for the development of the South Bay’s model program. A host of key components enabled VIP Village to exist and to thrive. Educators and policymakers alike recognize that a high-quality preschool makes a difference.

Thank you to the South Bay community, District facilities team, Erickson-Hall Construction Company, Westberg White Architecture, Silver Creek Industries, and Eric Hall & Associates for their work to develop this award winning facility.