Blach Construction and Quattrocchi Kwok Architects Complete Multi-Phase Conversion of Thornton Middle School

Categorized as Press Release, Project News

New and Modernized Spaces Accommodate Additional Sixth Grade Level

Fremont, Calif., March 19, 2024 Blach Construction (Blach) and Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA) recently completed a multi-phase conversion project at Fremont Unified School District’s (FUSD) Thornton Middle School (Thornton), effectively transforming the campus from a junior high to middle school. The expanded campus now includes a sixth-grade level, increasing the student population by nearly 50 percent.

The campus conversion showcases a recently completed two-story administration building, which now marks the entrance to campus and houses student support services and a library complete with collaboration space. Five new two-story classroom buildings totaling an additional 35,000 sq.ft. were completed in an earlier phase. In use since the beginning of the 2022-23 school year, these flexible classrooms and labs, necessary to accommodate the increase in student body, may adapt to support future programming changes. All existing classroom buildings, a multi-purpose building and locker rooms underwent extensive upgrades, and exterior campus features now include a new covered lunch/gathering space and a multitude of previously added athletics fields and sports courts. In all, the Thornton Middle School project encompassed 45,000 sq.ft. of new construction and 57,000 sq.ft. of modernization work.

“The modern and flexible educational and support spaces that now make up Thornton Middle School provide each grade level with inspiring facilities to learn and grow,” said QKA Principal John Dybczak. “This has been a complex and fulfilling project to see through to the finish line and the outcome is a testament to the teamwork of all parties involved.”

Minimizing disruptions to the campus and maintaining high degrees of quality during this extensive project was paramount to its success. Blach self-performed the structural concrete and utilized a panelized wall system for the five new classroom buildings. Wall panels were constructed at Blach’s in-house prefabrication shop and erected on site, maximizing safety for both workers and campus occupants and positively contributing to both schedule and budget goals. Additionally, Blach self-performed the wood framing for the new administration building, as well as the carpentry for the multiple building upgrades.

“With every aspect of the campus affected by the multiple phases of construction, advance planning and coordination were invaluable to project success,” said Brad Fannin, project executive at Blach. “From the prefabrication of wall panels to the sequencing of work, we employed solutions from the outset that would maintain functionality and safety for Thornton’s students and staff.”

Designed with sustainability goals in mind, the campus’s new buildings are solar ready and feature cool metal roofing panels, energy-efficient windows and LED lighting, high-efficiency mechanical systems, water-efficient plumbing fixtures and eco-friendly interior finishes. Further demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship, site improvements included bio-swales for stormwater management and the use of native, drought-tolerant plants.

“The new construction and renovated facilities at Thornton Middle School create the type of teaching and learning environment our students and staff deserve,” said FUSD Superintendent CJ Cammack. “I thank the skilled and professional project team for ensuring we were heard and felt confident throughout the multiple phases of this project.”

About Blach Construction
Founded in 1970, Blach Construction builds structures of enduring quality and value throughout California. The firm’s experience encompasses a broad cross section of education, housing, institutional, mixed-use and workplace building types, translating into a diverse portfolio that includes civic/community, healthcare, K-12 and higher education, hospitality, life sciences, professional services and technology facilities, as well as affordable, supportive and market-rate housing developments. With fluency in traditional and collaborative delivery methods – and true to their Silicon Valley roots – Blach continually incorporates advanced, innovative construction techniques, leveraging in-house prefabrication, self-perform and virtual design, and construction expertise to offer greater efficiencies to projects and increased value to clients.

The firm consistently wins awards across the construction industry and general business community for projects, innovation, employee engagement and community service. Quality and safety are at Blach’s core. As a result, the company is continually ranked as a “Top Contractor in California” by Engineering News-Record and has received multiple “Construction Safety Excellence Awards” from the Associated General Contractors of California. Additionally, and as a testament to its company culture, Blach has been recognized repeatedly since 2009 as a “Best Place to Work” in the Bay Area by the Silicon Valley Business Journal/San Francisco Business Times.

Blach is headquartered in San Jose with offices in Monterey and Southern California. To learn more, please visit and engage via LinkedIn.

About Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
QKA provides comprehensive master planning and design services for K-12 and higher education, historic renovation, and community facilities in Northern California. With more than $2.5 billion in projects completed in its 38-year history, QKA’s award-winning portfolio reflects a commitment to design that emphasizes environmental sustainability and community impact. Building Design + Construction has recognized QKA as one of the nation’s top K-12 and BIM (building information modeling) architecture firms. Engineering News-Record has called it one of America’s top design firms. Majority employee-owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), visit to learn more.

About Fremont Unified School District
The Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) serves nearly 33,000 students in transitional kindergarten through grade 12 at 41 schools and also offers preschool and adult education programs. With 41 National Merit Scholars in 2023 and seven California Distinguished Schools named in 2021-2023, FUSD’s mission is to provide equitable opportunities to educate, challenge and inspire students of all ages, talents and ability levels while striving to prepare each with the skills required to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. FUSD is located in the City of Fremont, California, where residents come from across the globe to call Fremont home. FUSD takes pride in its diversity, its community, and its schools. Visit the District’s website at and its Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages for more information.