Nueva's Lower and Middle Schools are located in Hillsborough, CA on thirty-three acres of wooded land, just east of Highway 280. The Lower School (preK-grade 4) is located in "the Mansion," on the lower part of campus, while the Middle School (grades 5-8) is located across the upper end of campus in the Hillside Learning Complex. The campus contains two playgrounds, a track and sports field, art studios, science labs, a gymnasium, a library, a media lab, the Innovation Lab, a garden, and a cafeteria.
Over the years, Nueva faculty and alumni have lovingly referred to the Mansion as a central part of the Nueva experience. It houses the preK through fourth grade classes, and includes an art room, ballroom, kitchen, first aid area, and some administrative offices. The grounds around the Mansion provide children with an abundance of play areas -- a big favorite being the forts -- and a garden for students to work and learn in. Many concerts and other special events take place in the Mansion's Ballroom. The Mansion is the school's historic heart.
The Hillside Learning Complex -- with a gold-level LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) certification from the US Green Building Council -- predominantly houses the Middle School and administrative offices, but serves students of every grade level. Embodying the key features of progressive education, it includes a PreK-8 library, media lab, grades 5-8 classrooms, the Café, the Innovation Lab for science, engineering, and art projects, and a central outdoor plaza that serves as a gathering space.
Opened in 2007, this facility was designed specifically to support Nueva's integrated, multidisciplinary curriculum and meet the needs of high-ability learners. As flexibility was a priority, nearly every wall is moveable to allow for re-combining of spaces to address various learning needs. Attractive adjoining patios and abundant glass brings the outdoors inside, creating free-flowing spaces and sparking interactions across grade levels. Built on principles of environmental sustainability, the facility itself is a teaching tool.
The complex's buildings are designed to minimize impact on the school's natural setting while maximizing multiple benefits derived from the native ecology, including wind for ventilation and cooling, sun for heating and energy generation, and rain for irrigation and fire prevention. Spaces and systems are designed to support Nueva's spirit of creative interaction while promoting a strong understanding of environmental stewardship.
Here are some of the Hillside Learning Complex's environmental features:
- Building Orientation: Buildings take maximum advantage of solar access and prevailing winds.
- Natural Ventilation: Harnessing breezes creates a healthy indoor environment and conserves energy by reducing need for air conditioning.
- Heating: Buildings have in-floor radiant heating with energy-efficient boilers.
- Lighting: Filtered natural light, coupled with energy-efficient lighting conserves energy.
- Sun Control: Structures reject summer sun while inviting winter sun.
- Living Roofs: Native planting on roofs provides excellent insulation and habitats for birds and butterflies.
- Water Use Reduction: Low-flow plumbing fixtures, draught-tolerant landscaping, and drip irrigation conserve water. A small creek recycles rainwater and building runoff into the grey water system for irrigation.
- Building Materials: Walls, glazing, and floors regulate temperatures. Materials are non-toxic with high recycled/renewable content, such as cotton insulation (recycled denim), tile (recycled windshields), bamboo, and linoleum.
- Renewable Energy: Photovoltaic solar panels generate electricity for the school.
- Wood Harvested From Building Site: Trees cut down from the building site provided lumber for balconies, benches, and decks.