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Kindergarten facility debuts at Country Day

La Jolla Country Day School’s new state-of-the-art kindergarten facility dedicated last week was built with the needs of its students in mind.

“The design was largely informed by this idea of home away from home,” said Eric Davy of Davy Architecture, the facility designer. “It was really all about making a really pleasantly scaled environment for these kids, with classrooms with abundant skylights and natural, not artificial, lighting.”

The new facility is a vast improvement over the portable classrooms kindergartners have been housed in up until now, said Marna Weiss, director of La Jolla Country Day’s Lower School.

“Every classroom has outdoor spaces behind and in front so you can take learning outdoors,” she said. “Of course, the playground is huge and beautifully landscaped with play equipment. It’s a whole different way to program, much more versatile. It just opens all sorts of avenues for different kinds of learning.”

Weiss said kindergarten teachers instruct small groups of 15 students. Best of all, she said, the new facility has its own parking area.

“It’s a very safe and secure environment,” said Weiss, adding that kindergarten development included a new science and computer lab for the Lower School as well as a new language classroom.

At the kindergarten dedication, kudos were given by Donald Ings, president of La Jolla Country Day’s Board of Trustees to Mark Marcus, who is in charge of the K-12 school’s grounds and maintenance. Ings said the new kindergarten could not have come to fruition without Marcus’ efforts and expertise.

Built on the former site of the school’s tennis courts, which have been relocated, Marcus said the new kindergarten is one of the final pieces in the long-term redevelopment of La Jolla Country Day’s campus.

“There was virtually nothing out here (9490 Genessee Ave.) when we first moved here in 1960,” he said. “All of those first buildings are now gone except for our gym, which we remodeled into a theater. Every building remaining on campus has been either changed or replaced. It’s the culmination of a lot of years of work.”

Recently, a visual arts and science complex was added to the Upper School. Before that, a library complex and administration facilities were completed and a middle school building was built.

“We’ve turfed our baseball field and built six brand-new tennis courts and created a sports complex,” Marcus said. “Now we’ve got a campus that looks youngest to oldest, east to west, young kids 3 years old to 18-year-olds.”

Built with the latest architectural techniques and technological innovations, the kindergarten is expected to win a Gold Certification from the Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.