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Westmont Elementary School: Visual and Performing Arts Academy Transformation

Kimley-Horn supported Westmont Elementary School in making campus improvements to highlight its transformation into a Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) academy in the Ocean View School District. These improvements provide students with new opportunities to learn, develop their musical abilities, and connect with nature through musically equipped outdoor learning areas, play structures, and inclusive playgrounds designed by Kimley-Horn Landscape Architects.


Kimley-Horn worked closely with DLR Group to provide landscape architecture services for the Westmont Elementary School transformation. New campus-wide improvements—including outdoor learning areas, new inclusive playgrounds, outdoor music equipment, and a convenient pick-up and drop-off location—promote greater access and opportunities for students to explore the arts and core curriculum of the academy outside the classroom.

An outdoor walkway leading to a large tree on the Westmont Elementary campusIn collaboration with the DLR Group, the Ocean View School District performed master planning for three elementary schools in the district to receive improvements. The master planning process identified campus deficiencies, needs, wants, and overall goals for the district. During this process, Westmont Elementary School was selected to become a VAPA school, requiring special design and planning from Kimley-Horn. The Ocean View School District applied to receive a community bond to fund the improvements of these campuses. Funding was approved by the community, allowing Kimley-Horn and DLR Group to complete the design and engineering work for the project.

Kimley-Horn’s Landscape Architect team and in-house civil engineers worked side by side to create a modernized campus with new hardscaping, planting, and irrigation. Through constant communication and teamwork, improvements were completed on time, ensuring the proposed designs met the budget requirements.

Outdoor musical instruments: tall silver chimes

Continuing Education During Renovation

To streamline renovations and ensure children would continue in-person learning, an innovative solution was put in place: the Westmont campus was closed for one year, students were moved to a nearby functioning school building, and renovations were made on the temporarily closed campus. A similar process was adopted when renovations took place at the other schools in the district, allowing construction to be completed in one phase without the need for a specialized timeline to accommodate school hours.

“The community is so proud of this campus. It’s really rewarding to see when the teachers and students come out of the building, happy with the renovations. This school is such a big part of their community.”

Fulfilling Client and City Needs

Utilizing the master plan and creative design solutions, Kimley-Horn designed improvements in accordance with the needs of the students and staff at Westmont Elementary School and the City of Westminster. In addition to many of the school’s new outdoor learning spaces, reconstructing the entrance road was also deemed necessary. Kimley-Horn worked closely with the City to approve a street utility connection and reconfiguration of a public entrance to the elementary school from the main access road. An efficient front drop-off and pick-up zone now allows parents to quickly walk or drive their children to and from school, decreasing traffic and wait times.

Aerial view of the Westmont Elementary School turn in and parking lot