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Cardinal Newman Santa Rosa

Catholic school badly damaged in 2017 California wildfire breaks ground on classroom building

June 23, 2020
Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa is building a 24,000-square-foot classroom facility.

Cardinal Newman High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., has broken ground on a new two-story classroom building, the school’s second and most significant campus addition following the severe damage caused during a massive wildfire in 2017.

The addition will provide classroom space needed for expanded educational offerings and curriculum at the Catholic preparatory school. The building will enable the school to remove existing temporary portable learning spaces.

Much of the Cardinal Newman campus was engulfed in flames on Oct. 8, 2017 when a wildfire that was dubbed the Tubbs Fire swept through the area. More than a third of the campus was destroyed, school officials said.

The school embarked on a $38 million capital campaign to pay for the campus improvements needed in the aftermath of the wildfire.

A feasibility study on rebuilding the campus identified the construction of a new two-story classroom building as a top priority

The 24,000-square-foot addition will have 18 classrooms, an art studio, four student collaboration rooms and two staff collaboration rooms. They will surround a central courtyard and be supplemented by outdoor learning spaces.

Sustainable design elements—energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures, solar shading, operable windows, daylighting, and sustainably sourced materials—have been central to the complex’s design. The surrounding landscaping will be drought-tolerant and include systems for storm water retention.

“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the groundbreaking of our most ambitious campus improvement project to date,” says Linda Norman, Cardinal Newman's interim president. “Intended to rebuild needed classroom space following the devastation and delayed by a global pandemic, this project symbolizes the resilience of our school and community in many ways. We have been thankful to have such a flexible and engaged project team and a generous donor community supporting our vision as it comes to life.”

Cardinal Newman already has completed other repairs of the fire-damaged campus. The renovated North Classroom Building, which had been damaged in the fire, opened in fall 2019, and  a renovated athletic field with all-weather turf opened at about the same time.

The architect for the school expansion is Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, and the contractor is Wright Contracting.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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