Historic Alameda High School

Historic Rehabilitation & Modernization

Alameda, CA

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 100,000 square-foot 1924 Alameda High School (AHS) has long been recognized by the Alameda community as a tremendous civic and historical resource. The iconic multi-story neoclassical group of buildings fills an entire block of Central Avenue, adjoining the city’s historic central business district. However, in the 1970s the buildings were deemed unsafe as they did not meet new seismic standards, resulting in most of the original school largely standing empty ever since.

State funding and a 2014 bond measure enabled QKA to take on one of California’s largest historic school renovation projects, focusing the design on restoration and seismic retrofitting, while providing 21st century learning environments, an infusion of technology and accessibility for this historic school. This massive modernization resulted in 37 state-of-the-art classrooms, 11 new science labs, designated outdoor learning spaces, and updating the structural, mechanical and electrical systems – all with minimal visual impact. Attention to detail was integral to the design – the exterior columns and terrazzo entry stairs, 350 wood windows, and the main lobbies were meticulously restored and brought back to their original grandeur.

Ultimately, the buildings have been successfully revitalized to meet the needs of AHS’s modern learning environments while preserving its historic prominence.

"The seismic and restoration work was ambitious and artfully executed, and the interior work was no less impressive. Our students, staff, and the community at large are thrilled with the inside and outside of the restored buildings. The high school is located in the central business district of our island city, and the restoration of these beautiful buildings is considered a key ingredient in revitalizing our downtown."
- Shariq Khan, Chief Business Officer, Alameda USD

School District
Alameda Unified School District

100,000 sq.ft. (Modernization)

Completion Date
August 2019

Final Construction Cost


High School
Science Labs
Seismic Upgrades


2022 Award of Honor | Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) & AIA California Council (AIACC) Leroy F. Greene Design + Planning Award

2020 Best of the Best Project | Engineering News-Record

2020 Regional Best Project Award; K-12 Education | ENR California

2020 Honor Award | American Institute of Architects (AIA) – Redwood Empire

2020 Trustees Award for Excellence | California Preservation Foundation

2020 Preservation Design Award | California Preservation Foundation

2020 Alameda Preservation Award | Alameda Architectural Preservation Society

2020 Reconstruction Silver Award | Building Design + Construction

2019 Real Estate Deal of the Year | San Francisco Business Times