Marin Horizon School Portable Replacement and Multi-Use Building Project

We are excited to bring you into a conversation regarding our plan to upgrade Marin Horizon School's campus. Schools are, by nature, dynamic places where meeting the needs of children and families directs the school’s vision. We have worked hard to create a plan that enhances our learning environment and delivers on our ongoing commitment to providing a top-notch education in joyful classrooms, all while minimizing impacts on the community. Our proposed plan is to replace the three aging portables with an upgraded library/classroom/learning center space, and build a new, much-needed multi-use space that allows for our school community to gather indoors. Our proposal will achieve our vision without expanding the school's footprint beyond the existing property lines or increasing enrollment.

We know that our Homestead Valley neighbors have a special interest in these plans. Homestead Valley has been Marin Horizon School's home since 1992. Our Head of School and many of our families live in the immediate neighborhood. We are committed to community outreach as we move through the application, approval and construction process, and we expect and welcome public input on ways to improve the plans.  

We look forward to sharing our plans and continuing to work with you as the project moves forward.

Questions or comments? Please contact Lizzie Porter-Roth, Director of Marketing and Communications at or 415.388.8408 ext. 424.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • What is Marin Horizon School proposing?

    The school’s campus project involves the following components:
    (1)    Replacement of the approximately 2,740 gsf portables with a two-story library/classroom/learning center building of about 4,144 gsf with a maximum height of 32 feet, and aligns with the second and third story roof heights of the adjacent middle school building. The building is designed as an infill structure on the current library portable site, set into the hillside, and nestled between the upper school and primary classroom buildings. A small (424 sf) restroom building will also be added near the new library.
    (2)    Future construction of a multi-use building on the site of the existing assembly steps. It includes a one-story, approximately 13’ high flat roofed kitchen/foyer/green room component (stepping up to 20’ high over the stage area), adjacent to the Homestead Valley Community Center.  It is attached to a one-story assembly area to the east, on the school’s interior playground side, providing a stepping up in height as you move further from the Homestead Valley Community Center.  In addition, the sloped roof over the assembly area rises from 22’8” at the southern edge, to approximately 26’6” at its highest point at the northern edge, which is closest to the nearby three story middle school.  The high point now aligns with the middle school’s second story roof.  The building is tucked into the hillside as much as possible, but provides for a 16’ buffer between the Community Center to allow for sufficient landscape screening.  The building totals 5,285 gsf.  The multi-use building will be a flexible space that can accommodate a variety of uses such as school community meetings, arts activities, indoor play and lunchroom space.
    (3)    Reconfiguration of the outdoor play space to reflect the new building footprints. There will be new landscaping, bio swales, trees and garden areas throughout the site. Extensive screening of the buildings will be planted along Montford Avenue, and between the multi-use building and HVCC.
  • How has the project evolved?

    Following an extensive outreach process, the school made significant changes to the height, massing, landscaping, and other areas of the project, which are in direct response to the neighborhood’s feedback. Below are links to a summary of the changes as well as updated plans and views.
    ·          Campus Project Changes
    ·          Revised Plans
  • Are you increasing students, faculty or staff?

    No, we are not increasing enrollment, faculty or staff. The library/classroom/learning center building replaces existing uses on the property. The multi-use building provides spaces for activities that are either currently conducted outside, weather permitting (school community meetings, Grandparents and Special Friends Day, Earth Day events, recess play activities, etc.), that occur indoors in the classrooms (lunch service and eating area) or that must be conducted off-site (drama, winter concert, etc.). Lunch service will be moved from outdoor under the overhang next to the primary classrooms, and students would have a dedicated eating area.  Pick up, drop off, and entry into the school will continue at the current location and with the same procedures.  
  • Why is Marin Horizon School pursuing these changes and why are they necessary?

    In the past, we have made improvements to meet certain needs, but the talented faculty and staff are currently working around outmoded facilities in some spaces. The most compelling  issue is that the three portables are beyond their useful life, and need to be replaced. Two of them are located in the current creek setback area. We want to replace those structures with an infill building that meets our foreseeable need for replacement classroom space, learning support, a library, small meeting areas and administrative support, all to modern standards, including meeting needs of diverse learners for different kinds of spaces. The school also has a pressing need for a multi-use space that can accommodate school community meetings and events, support the school's arts and drama activities, and allow for indoor play and eating areas, particularly in inclement weather. There is currently no indoor space where these activities can occur.
  • How will the multi-use building be used?

    The space will accommodate a variety of uses, including lunch space, stage/arts activities, and school community meetings. On occasion there will be school events that are currently held off-site such as middle school moving on ceremony, holiday concert, etc.  The multi-use building also includes a small kitchen area (240 sf) for the prepping of student lunches that are brought in.
  • What consideration has been given to the Homestead Valley Community Center?

    We have worked closely with the Homestead Valley Community Association Board and its feedback is reflected in the multi-use building's design.  There is a major grade change between the HVCC property to the multi-use building site, with a substantial fence located along the property line.  On the Marin Horizon School side of the property line, there will be a 12 1/2 foot kitchen building which continues for about 18 feet before the approximately 23 1/2 foot high portion of the multi-use building begins.  Finally, the design incorporates a roof that slopes down toward the property line.  The combination of these factors means that the top of the multi-use building will be minimally visible from the HVCC site.  We have reviewed the shadows from the multi-use building at various intervals throughout the year starting at 9 a.m. and have confirmed that they do not reach beyond the property line. 
  • Describe your outreach plan?

    We have been sharing our preliminary thinking and plans with the MHS/Homestead Valley Joint Committee and the HVCA Board over the past few years. We also have held two widely notices community open houses, four separate neighborhood office hours, site tours, and individual neighbor meetings. To ensure that everyone is aware of these meetings, we have provided extensive public notice (Homestead Headlines, NextDoor, sandwich boards at nearby intersections, website).  As we move forward, we will continue to make community outreach a critical part of the process.
  • Will the project be LEED certified? What are the sustainable/green elements of the project?

    Given current state and local requirements, virtually every building is required to be built to LEED or similar standards.  We are working on exceeding those requirements and meeting LEED platinum-level standards through features such as green material selections for new buildings, reducing hardscape/adding green spaces, white cool/solar-ready roofs, etc.  Most importantly, the project takes advantage of the building siting for use of natural light within the new buildings, and reduces heat gain through exterior shading, operable windows and natural ventilation.  
    Beyond LEED standards, the school is reviewing various green building standards specific to schools to make sure that we have the most expansive view of sustainability.  We are also contributing to the health of the creek by removing structures in the creek setback area and reducing impervious surfaces to help reduce storm water runoff.  Sustainability also includes operations, and we have convened a task force to focus on extending our existing sustainable operations, and enhancing those with the new facilities.  Finally, we believe that "wellness" and sustainability go hand in hand.  Wellness is an integral part of our curriculum, and we look forward to enhancing that through features such as improved indoor and outdoor play spaces, natural ventilation and light, a healthy food and gardening program.  
  • What is the approvals process and schedule?

    Marin Horizon submitted its application to the County of Marin in September 2017. Staff reviewed the application and asked for some additional information. Meanwhile, the school also took the time to incorporate design changes to the project that were based on neighborhood feedback. Now that we have shared the latest designs with the community, we will re-enter the application process with the precise timeline being confirmed by County staff.
  • What is your construction schedule and how will construction impacts be managed?

    A more detailed schedule will be confirmed once we hire a contractor, but the estimated construction timeframes are approximately 7-9 months for the first phase, and 10-12 months for the second phase.  The first phase will include activities such as demolition of portables, construction of the two new buildings (library and bathrooms), grading and paving, installation of utilities, and landscaping.  We are preparing for the County's review a detailed Construction Management Plan (CMP).  It will include a Scope of Work and Schedule, Best Management Practices for Construction (Construction Coordinator designation, traffic and parking control measures, noise control measures, air quality control measures, and water quality control measures), and Creek Protection Measures (use of silt control devices, compound storage, setting stockpile areas back from the creek, establishing riparian protection zones, etc.).  We have now moved the Phase I Construction Staging area away from Montford Avenue, based on neighbor concerns, and will construct both phases from the playground area.
    Once the phasing and staging plan is confirmed by the contractor, we will update the CMP's transportation and parking plan with details on how construction, employee and parent parking will be addressed during each stage of construction.  We expect this to include a plan for nearby satellite parking and shuttles.