Take a virtual tour of the Irvine Unified School District’s newest elementary campus (video)


Sliding glass walls that transform classrooms into large collaborative learning spaces. Windows that automatically dim to help control energy costs. Outdoor seating for small-group instruction.

It’s all part of Cypress Village Elementary School, the latest addition to IUSD’s lineup of award-winning campuses.

With a budget of approximately $25 million and a projected opening enrollment of about 600 students, Cypress Village is nearing completion on 10.2 acres south of Jeffrey Road and east of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway. Once finished, the site will occupy about 61,000 square, serving its namesake village at the address of 355 Rush Lily.

Irvine has a history of producing cutting-edge schools, and this one fits nicely with that tradition. Yet what’s unique about Cypress Village, set to open Sept. 2, is that it’s the first school built to the district’s new educational specifications, or ed specs. Embedded in IUSD’s Facilities Master Plan, ed specs detail the instructional activities that will be housed within a school and map out the special features needed to support those activities.

We toured Cypress Village in mid-August, and though construction crews were still at work, the campus revealed the influence of IUSD’s ed specs with an emphasis on flexible learning environments, collaboration and technology integration.

In addition to the sliding glass walls, which will enable a number of collaborative opportunities for each grade level, classrooms in grades one through six also open into courtyards for outdoor instruction. Other amenities include a cavernous multipurpose room that will feature video monitors and floating ceiling panels, a living skills lab for students enrolled in the school’s structured autism program, grade-level work rooms for teachers, student tables that tilt up to become presentation boards and adjustable skylights that bathe hallways in natural light.

“The environment is set up to create a very personalized learning experience for our students,” Susan Kemp, Cypress Village’s first principal, told us.

School leaders are planning to host an open house from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 for incoming students and their families to check out some of these features, but you don’t have to wait get a preview of the site. Click on the video above to take a virtual tour of the new Cypress Village Elementary School.