The Isaac L. Sowers Middle School master plan comprises the last of the Measure Q projects for Huntington Beach CSD. In November of 2016, the District passed a $160 million bond measure to modernize all of its school sites. Studio W developed the District-wide Facilities Master Plan, wherein Sowers Middle School was originally intended to be modernized. After much evolution and deliberation by the District and community, and due in large part to the poor soil conditions in Huntington Beach (liquefaction), it was decided to leave Sowers Middle School to the final phase of the bond sales to determine whether or not it made more sense to wholesale replace the 1970’s vintage “honeycomb” classroom facility.

As the result of many internal factors, including the evolution of the District to a “basic aid” or “community funded” entity, enrollment and other factors enabled the District to surplus sell one of its sites (Gisler Middle School). This transaction enabled the District to augment the bond funds and position the funding necessary to truly reimagine the Sowers campus.

In 2021, Studio W embarked on a feasibility study and master plan for the campus where we developed two modernization options and pitted them against a single new construction option to determine whether it was best to modernize the Sowers campus or replace it entirely. The modernization options hinged upon the seismic strength of driven piles to deal with the liquefaction as well as roof to wall connections and grade beams to seismically retrofit the facility. This also required interim housing and a multi-phase process to add a new gym and STEM lab to the site. The second modernization option allows for the potential of a collocated bus yard which requires rebuild of a new administration building.

By contrast, the new construction option seeks to replace all pre-existing structures with modular classroom wings (utilizing an American Modular Systems “Gen 7” Building) and stick-built administration, student union, locker room facility, gym and STEM Lab. The 900-student facility will be built adjacent to the existing facilities, on field and hard court areas in two phases, without the need for interim housing.

The design incorporates all of the hallmarks of next generation learning, including “hub” type circulation, a student union and multi-front, adaptable classrooms, with a safe and secure central quad. The spaces utilize extensive natural light and feature operable elements to blur the outside and in, taking advantage of the splendid weather in Huntington Beach.

The student union serves as a social center for student life with a variety of collaborative seating, areas to present and a food service element. The roll-up doors enable direct access to outdoor seating and the space features a variety of technology and power for connection to wireless devices. The total estimated project cost of the new construction option is $54 million.


Huntington Beach City School District


62,200 SF


$54 million (estimate)


Phase 1: Completed 2024
Phase 2: In Progress (estimated completion 2025)

Seacliff Elementary School

Dwyer Middle School Gymnasium & STEM Academy

Dwyer Middle School