St. Matthew Episcopal Day School‘s Sustainable Addition to Historic Rectory

St. Matthew Episcopal Day School‘s Sustainable Addition to Historic Rectory

by Michael Jak, May 6, 2013

We all know the importance of one’s environment and how it affects the way we work and live.  Of course, it’s equally important (if not more so) in the world of education.  A few weeks ago, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and Day School in San Mateo broke ground for the first of two phases of new construction. This is the first capital campaign for the school since its inception in 1953 and for the church since the 1920s. Pfau Long has worked tirelessly with both church and school, two separate but interconnected institutions that share a long history on this site, in order to help them visualize and manifest this exciting new era.

Phase I is the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) at Charles House, a 3,000 square foot addition to the church’s historic 1917 Neo-French Gothic rectory. While continuing to serve the church community as a residence and small meeting house, the Charles House will be injected with new energy by the addition of the ECDC, a one-story wing of three preschool classrooms. The ECDC will be a modern facility whose design is meant to complement and counterpoint the historic structure while providing sustainable features such as passive natural ventilation and hydronic radiant floor heating. The classroom spaces also focus on the natural environment with generous windows looking onto the San Mateo Creek greenbelt which runs through the site and the design of a new play yard takes advantage of the site’s natural beauty which will enhance the development of the day school’s youngest students. Construction is set to be completed in time for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Set to begin construction this summer on the main St. Matthew’s site, Phase 2 will be an all-new 26,000 square foot library, gym and classroom building for both the church and school.  The gym facility will be fully underground, thereby maximizing space efficiency on the small campus.  Known as St. Matthew’s Hall the building is set to open in the winter of 2014.


Both buildings are the result of a campus master plan that we developed with the church and school beginning in 2011. Occupied by St. Matthew’s church since the 1850’s the site includes a Willis Polk church constructed in 1912.  These two projects represent the first new construction on the St. Matthew’s site since the main classroom building was built in the 1950s.  More updates on this project to follow.


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