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Three-Story Complex Unveiled at Grand View

Jun 07, 2023 10:10AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Past and present MBUSD staff and school board leaders and construction team members prepare to cut the ribbon at the new three-story complex at Grand View Elementary in Manhattan Beach.

After three years of construction, Grand View Elementary School can finally enjoy its remodeled campus - the highlight of which, a three-story multi-purpose building, was unveiled on Tuesday.

"The completion of this project is a testament to our shared aspirations," MBUSD Board President Cathey Graves told the gathered crowd of parents and community members. "The Grand View modernization project provides our community here with a more accessible campus that is going to do great things in connecting all of our students and families in one place. This facility will undoubtedly have a positive and lifelong impact on our community."

(A view of the new building from Bell Avenue in Manhattan Beach.)

The towering new building will house administrative offices, a performing arts center and music rooms, a new cafeteria, and a staff lounge with an enviable treetop view of Manhattan Beach. 

The construction - which was tricky to begin with as it required building into the side of a sand dune - was further complicated by heavy rains during the last season. 

"If you live in the neighborhood you've seen the amazing amount of work that has happened here - even over the last 48 hours," joked MBUSD Deputy Superintendent Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard. 

(MBUSD Deputy Superintendent Dawnalyn Murakawa-Leopard speaks before a crowd at the building's unveiling.)

Murakawa-Leopard praised the architecture team at DLR Group including Kevin Fleming and Mark Stankard; as well as John Bernardy and Emily Kay from the construction team at Balfour Beatty for their work throughout the project.

Grand View Elementary is the second-oldest school in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District (after Pacific Elementary). Grand View first opened in 1939.

The Grand View overhaul began in May 2020 and included multiple phases. The project included modernizing all classroom buildings, building a new two-story classroom building, renovating the kindergarten classrooms along Bell Avenue, demolishing the Ladera building as well as some of the portable classroom buildings at the northwest corner of the campus, constructing two new play fields (an 8,800 square foot mid-level field as well as a 30,700 square foot north campus field), building a new playground, constructing a new fire lane connecting the entire campus, installing new landscaping throughout the campus, creating a new parking lot, and constructing the new three-story building.

The construction cost for the entire project was $39.5 million. The project was funded by a bond measure, Measure C, that was approved by Manhattan Beach voters in 2016.

Three-Story Building Centralizes Major Functions

The 19,590-square-foot three-story building will serve as the primary entrance to the campus.

On the first floor, the building includes a welcome center, new administration offices, a health office, and a conference room, as well as various storage and support spaces.

The second floor is home to the new Performing Arts Complex, the centerpiece of which is a 3,900 square foot multipurpose room that Murakawa-Leopard called a "PAC on steroids." The space is designed to hold 602 occupants, large enough to hold the entire student body. It features a flexible open space with a performance platform, operable bleachers, theatrical lighting, and sound system.


The second floor also hosts a storage area and classroom space, as well as a large outdoor plaza providing a gathering area to the east of the multipurpose room.

On the third floor, there is a staff lounge, staff workroom, and a kitchen that opens out to a 1,920-square-foot covered lunch area.


Large windows open the building to the surrounding areas, providing expansive views from a variety of locations throughout the building.

(The treetop view from the teachers' lounge.)

Grand View Principal Tara Grings, who has experienced construction on campus throughout her entire term as principal (she began in 2021), said, "It feels so great to have this amazing indoor space, to be able to have assemblies for our kids, to have the new cafeteria... It's truly beautiful - I'm so excited."

(The Grand View Gator gives the project a thumbs-up.)

Measure C Touched All Manhattan Beach Schools

Measure C is the $114 million measure - approved by Manhattan Beach voters in November 2016 - that was used primarily at MBUSD elementary schools to improve infrastructure (including completing air conditioning for all classrooms) and make improvements to each elementary site, based on the Facilities Master Plan developed by MBUSD in 2015.

Along with the Grand View overhaul, those projects included:

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