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Nipaquay Elementary School

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  Landscape Architecture

The newly opened elementary school nestled within the Civita community of Mission Valley has been named Nipaquay, an indigenous word meaning “Our Other Home.” The school design evokes this feeling of home away from home with elements that intentionally emphasize connection in multiple forms, including social connection, connection to nature, and connection through education and exploration. Each classroom opens to an adjacent exterior classroom/shared workspace where students and teachers can collaborate in hands-on lab explorations.  Intended as a hub for the community’s youth, the design blends directly into Civita Park, offering safe walking and bicycling access directly to the site.

Alongside its educational facilities, a new “maker space” and a library and media center offer students additional creative outlets.  The campus hosts three vibrant playgrounds to accommodate an array of age groups. A built-in climbing wall in the central courtyard provides a unique exploratory challenge as children navigate its façade. The outdoor cafeteria and welcoming plaza continue the play spaces’ vibrant, colorful motif. Educational signage located throughout the school integrates learning into every aspect of the campus experience.

7900 Civita Blvd, San Diego, CA 92108

Project Owner/Developer:
San Diego Unified School District

Contact Name/Email:
Janet Cortez / jcortez1@sandi.net

Project Architect/Designer:
Schmidt Design Group

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  1. Ricardo Ochoa

    The landscape architecture promotes physical activity and fresh air and fosters the development of critical social skills and friendships among students. The design also encourages imagination and participation and prepares students for the digital world they will inhabit. Kudos to the designers for creating a stimulating and empowering environment for the students.

  2. Sandra Farrell

    This is an excellent example of the use of color and graphics to create an inviting space.


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