Bernalillo High School Wins Prestigious Engineering Award

Bernalillo High School grand canopy entry at night

The New Mexico chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC NM) selected Bernalillo High School, designed by Dekker/Perich/Sabatini and built by HB Construction, as Grand Conceptor for the 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards.

All ACEC New Mexico award winners will be celebrated at a gala on Friday, April 6 at Sandia Resort and Casino.


Bernalillo High School is the sole high school in the Town of Bernalillo and serves 900 students. The 136,000sf project underwent a three-phase renovation on an active, occupied campus. It consisted of mixed construction, renovation, and demolition and required a large team of 35 subcontractors onsite.

Working with Bernalillo Public Schools and the high school, the project team developed a new site design that focused the campus around a courtyard surrounded by and existing gymnasium and two new buildings—the Academic Building and the Career Technical Education (CTE) Building. Old buildings were demoed.

The resulting new campus accomplished the district's goals to modernize and enhance the school's identity, improve campus security, expand career exploration programs, and create new opportunities for community use.


D/P/S's structural engineering team worked side-by-side with the architectural team to address existing site conditions and realize the functional and aesthetic design goals of the campus renovation.

The first major condition to overcome—poor soils. Loose, sandy soils and a high water table created a high possibility of soil liquefaction. This phenomenon is observed during seismic events, weakening the soil structure to the point that it flows like liquid. Working with the geotechnical engineer to make the ground suitable for new construction, the structural team developed a soil remediation plan. The solution? To increase soil density by installing aggregate piers, which are compacted columns drilled into the ground.

With the soil remediation plan completed, the structural engineering team coordinated with the architecture team to design the two new buildings.

For the two-story Academic Building, the structural engineering team specified two different lateral systems to accommodate the building's vastly different purposes and layouts. The classroom wing of the building had a grid structure. Conversely, the media center was designed to be much more open with large windows. To support the different functional and aesthetic requirements of the two areas of the building, the team designed two independent structural solutions.

Across the courtyard, the one-story CTE Building was designed for a variety of career exploration programs: automotive technology, welding, engineering, architecture and construction, culinary arts, visual arts, music, and drama. Unlike the Academic Building, the CTE addition allowed for a uniform structural solution.

Academic Building double volume interior entrance leads to the media center (left); Cyber Cafe and classroom wing (right).


The ACEC NM Grand Conceptor Award is a significant recognition for our structural engineers who work with our architectural and design teams to accomplish impressive feats of engineering. Because our structural engineering team is involved from the beginning of design, they are able to support client needs and design intent while also ensuring the integrity of structural elements.

Bernalillo High School is an example of an exceptional collaboration between the entire project team. Congratulations to Bernalillo High School and all who worked on the campus renovation!


Owner Bernalillo Public Schools
Architect Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Contractor HB Construction
Structural Engineer Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Civil Engineer High Mesa Consulting Group
MEP Engineer Bridgers & Paxton
Interior Design Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Landscape Architecture Dekker/Perich/Sabatini