Thompson + Pollari

Yuma County Alternative School | Yuma, Arizona

Thompson + Pollari collaborated with a Tuscon firm on the design of this “alternative” school, intended to be the first accommodation school funded by the State of Arizona through the School Facilities Board. The design process was preceded by development of the Education Specifications for the School. The 600-student middle school was designed for construction in two phases with four “academic houses” of four classrooms each in Phase I, supported by an “applications” lab, conference room and central gathering space that would function as a “living room” for the students.   

The main courtyard contains a sunken basketball court that functions as a central amphitheater space for the school. The sunken court is surrounded by the multi-purpose gym & cafeteria, the media center and the administration wing. Roofing forms for the “academic houses” recall roof forms of vernacular agrarian structures in the Yuma area.


Design completion – December 2001

Key Design Concepts

  • Learning Village organization
  • “Academic houses” with central living rooms 
  • Secure interior courtyard
  • Administration wing as “entry gateway”
  • Welcome Center