Occupying 22 acres of a 40-acre site, the San Diego Jewish Academy was designed to offer a “self-contained, ecologically friendly campus in which students can ‘journey through life' while learning about the natural environment.” Emphasizing a low-visual impact, the school was designed to conform to the natural contours and colors of the hillside site and blend into the landscape. This was accomplished with the use of sand-colored masonry and plaster. In addition, all refuse generated by the school is recycled on site and landscaping consists of drought-tolerant, non-invasive and native plant species.

The school relied upon DPR's reputation for delivering projects “on schedule” in order to open in the fall for its first class of students. To accomplish this task, DPR utilized a fast-track, design/build delivery system to construct four buildings in nine months for completion of the first phase. Despite incomplete design drawings, weather conditions and extremely difficult site work, DPR successfully met the September 1 deadline.

The second phase, consisting of the main administration building and kitchen and a classroom building, was fenced off and constructed during the school year. The total square footage for all 6 two-story classroom buildings is 152,474.