Seivold Center for Early Childhood Education

Berkeley Preparatory School Seivold Center for Early Childhood Education | Tampa, Florida

The Lower Division Classroom Building is a two-story, 30,000-sq.-ft. steel structure that includes twelve classrooms, large group gathering spaces, two inspiring outdoor play areas, lower division administration rooms, art and maker’s space, dining area, and more. Upon entering the Seivold Center for Early Education (SCEC), visitors can’t miss the larger than life-sized tree and spiral staircase that encompasses the elevator at the building entry. The 20-ft. diameter 33-ft. tall Banyan-like tree constructed of steel, lath, plaster, and artistic paint, encapsulates the building’s elevator shaft, supporting steel for the grand spiral staircase and associated mechanical, electrical, and fire protection. A special foundation was coordinated in advance to carry the weight of the substantial tree feature. Additional unique features and custom themed elements include an interior bridge over stained concrete "water," wall mural, interior treehouse lofted reading nook, and a 4,000-sq.-ft. rooftop pirate ship play area. The outdoor classroom spaces also include an observation deck over Sweetwater Creek. These features encourage children in grades Pre-K-1 to be inquisitive, imaginative, and passionate learners in a setting unlike any other in the region.


  • Client Berkeley Preparatory School
  • Design Team Behar + Peteranecz

Project Scope

The building’s skin is an EIFS accented by glazing consistent with the existing campus. The skin offers a traditional look on the South and West elevations, while the East and North elevations transition into an unique and playful façade. DPR's Self-Perform Work (SPW) team took a leadership role in this project through exterior framing and sheathing, interior framing and drywall, ACT, doors frames & hardware and Division 10 specialties. Our self-perform groups went above and beyond their normal bounds by installing skylights and prefabricated metal trusses.

The project took place on an occupied K-12 campus. Considerable safety measures were put in place to separate the students from the on going construction, including a custom web-based scheduling system for material deliveries. Using this schedule, each trade could schedule deliveries in advance without being a distraction to student, parents or teachers. The project achieved zero safety incidents.

DPR also created a solid relationship with Berkeley Preparatory School and incorporated specialized learning experiences for the students, such as a demonstration on how to signal a crane. The Seivold Center provides a place where education has the chance to “take root” and enable students to grow in both stature and character through stimulating curiosity and confidence.

Larger than life-sized tree and spiral staircase that encompasses the elevator at the building entry.

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