Branciforte Elementary School Modernization – Santa Cruz, CA

Santa Cruz City Schools Bond: Phase I

Site work involved expanding the existing staff/public parking lot to add approximately 18 new parking spaces. The existing student drop off/pick up driveway was modified to improve safety. A new concrete block trash enclosure was installed to locate the dumpsters away from the portable classrooms. Damaged portions of the main entry stairs at the front entrance of the building were rebuilt. To provide access for the disabled, a new elevator was installed. Other accessibility improvements included upgrading all student toilet rooms, installing new door hardware and adding a wheelchair lift to the stage.

Each classroom received new finishes; carpet, paint, ceiling replacement (where required), new cabinetry and new whiteboards. The main corridors, the administration area and the auditorium were also refinished. To meet current fire/life safety codes, the existing fire sprinkler system was upgraded and new fire doors were added at the bottom of the two existing stairways on the first floor. The existing (original 1915 vintage) steam boiler, piping and radiators were removed and replaced with a new hot water boiler, new piping and new unit ventilators. Additional electrical outlets, new data wiring, new phone/intercom system and a new fire alarm and intrusion alarm system were installed.

In June 2004, Branciforte Elementary School closed. As part of the Small Schools reorganization, Ark High, Monarch Elementary, Alternative Family Education (AFE), and Loma Prieta High moved onto the Branciforte Elementary School campus.


Santa Cruz City Schools Bond: Phase II

Built in 1915, this neo-classical building has the distinction of being Santa Cruz’s second oldest school district. The 87 year old building was designed by a well known Watsonville architect named William Weeks. Weeks also designed the Boardwalk Casino and Santa Cruz High School.

Branciforte Elementary School was first renovated in the 1930’s. During the 1950’s, the building was retrofitted to make it strong enough to withstand an earthquake. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake proved the work was successful. Now, the current renovation of Branciforte Elementary is complete and the building is fully operational.

Classrooms have received new interior finishes such as flooring, paint, ceiling tiles and whiteboards, just as was installed in the north end of the building. The original 1915 casework was refinished. The fire sprinkler and security systems have been upgraded and coverage has been extended. The electrical system was upgraded and a new data network has been installed to provide broader internet access. The computer lab is now in its permanent home across from the library allowing for a more synchronized learning environment. Student restrooms throughout the entire building have been refinished with new plumbing, partitions, fixtures and tile on the floor and walls.

After four months of fabrication and three days of trucking from southern Illinois, the four-story elevator arrived on site completely assembled and ready for installation. A seventy-ton crane was required to lift the elevator from the truck and set it in its permanent location on the east side of the building. The elevator will provide disabled persons access to the main building.

The modernization project wound down with Phases V and VI which involved the removal of the portable classrooms on the southeast end of campus, enlarging the play area for students and widening the parking lot.

Project Details



Santa Cruz City Schools
405 Old San Jose Road
Soquel, CA 95073



DES 339 Bradford Street
Redwood City, CA 94063



Beverly Prior Architects
375 Fremont Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94105