Clear Lake High School

Lakeport, CA

Clear Lake High School students are taking advantage of expanded dining in a cool place they can call their own. An under-utilized breezeway was converted to an outdoor hangout space for lunchtime and between classes. Where the old vocational automobile shop was gathering dust is now a modern teaching kitchen and café-style dining area with a flexible classroom that opens up at lunchtime.


The existing campus’ architectural character includes a structural rhythm that cued the support system for a cantilevered canopy. Bead blasted concrete planters and seat walls recall exposed concrete aggregate panels on the existing buildings. Shade from the canopy keeps the area cool during hot weather, and built-in heaters keep students toasty in the winter. An outdoor audio system is especially popular during community events and fund-raisers.

By opening up the ceiling and suspending playful light fixtures and acoustical clouds, the café comes to life during breakfast and lunch. Students can make food choices at the hot food service counter, the salad bar and grab-and-go cases. In between mealtime, an AV system and TV screens come alive for culinary classes.


A glass garage door opens up during lunchtime allowing the woodshop’s classroom to do double-duty by providing over-flow seating for dining. Durable wall panels and porcelain tile flooring make for easy clean up while colorful upper walls contribute to a cozy café feeling.

Clear Lake High School Food Services photo of woman preparing pizza lunch for students

New kitchen equipment and generous prep counters allow staff to prepare healthy meals for the entire school district through a well-positioned pick-up point behind the kitchen. Whether making pizza, working with students at prep tables, or handing out a soft-serve ice cream cone, the Lakeport “lunch ladies” take pride in their contribution to the learning experience.