The existing Nevada Union High School cafeteria occupied a prominent, central location within the campus. It needed to be enlarged and updated to provide a viable facility that would keep students on campus for dining, while also fulfilling a desire to make a place they would want to use for activities. In recent years off-campus lunch had become the norm, as had the rental of off-site meeting halls in the area for school-sanctioned dances.

The existing kitchen and cafeteria at Nevada Union HS, designed for 1,800 kids, had not changed significantly since its 1961 opening. The existing kitchen was completely reconstructed and nearly doubled in area with a 1,400 square-foot addition. The cafeteria space was transformed with the enclosure of an existing, adjacent 3,300 square-foot patio area that is incorporated spatially into the new multi-use student common area with structural steel braced frames at the existing concrete wall between the two spaces. Analysis of the room’s acoustics led the designers to include in the ceiling a series of suspended sloping acoustic panels below the existing roof structure which received sound insulation on the underside. New large skylights and clerestory openings glazed with insulated translucent panels that reduce heat loss and gain, while also diffusing direct sunlight, are featured in the space that can be darkened for media viewing via motor-controlled rolling shade devices. Included in the design is a remote serving kitchen that is used to diffuse student serving lines and can be used as a warming kitchen for non-school related activities by local groups that rent the space from the district.