Emeryville Center of Community Life
A groundbreaking joint use facility that combines K-12 education, community, and healthcare services into one community complex
Wedged between the larger cities of Berkeley and Oakland, the Emery Unified School District was struggling to sustain and improve its services and facilities. City and district leadership had a thesis that co-locating a set of inter-generational services would yield better community health while improving learning outcomes for its underserved youth. The challenge was to test, validate, design, and implement a functional operational and planning solution that would meet the needs of a diverse set of city stakeholders sustainably.
As part of Nexus Partners, MKThink evaluated the cost-benefit of consolidating ten school / service sites into one, renovating existing facilities, or maintaining the status quo. The analysis revealed that a consolidated “center of community life” yielded a long-term cumulative net value $200 million greater than maintaining the status quo.
Through intensive community workshops and multi-use schedule design, MKThink helped provide the playbook to deliver Cradle to Cradle services in a single optimized campus, meeting the needs of Emeryville families at every stage of life.
The resulting 115,000 square foot physical campus opened in 2016 and integrated schools with community and family services, arts and recreation into a place that supports synergies and rich community connections. The center provided a mix of services, from early childhood education and afterschool programs to health and family support services, child-care services, job training and college courses.
MKThink’s planning focused on strategies for optimizing space and scheduling across multiple users and services to ensure the facility maintained a high level of use within a smaller, more cost-effective footprint than a distributed model would have allowed.
80% of Emeryville city voters approved the property-funded tax bond that raised $65 million in funds to support construction of the complex. The project ushered in innovative legislation to allow school districts in California to enter joint-use lease agreements with local government, paving the way for others across the state.
Emery Unified School District and City of Emeryville
Space Programming and Scheduling
K through 12 Education