COSTA MESA — In a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning, kindergartners sprinkled both water and wishes on the vacant lot that will soon house the Waldorf School of Orange County's new $2-million building.
The private school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade on Canyon Drive invited all 326 of its students to join faculty, parents and the community to see where it planned to erect what was said to be Costa Mesa's first building made from recycled shipping containers.
"It has always been a dream of this community to erect a building that will reflect the character of this community," said high school science teacher Ingrid Feck.
The building will house high school classes, an art studio, a life-science lab, auditorium, administrative offices, student lounge and a virtual library with a foreign-language lab.
Waldorf expanded four years ago to include a high school. The school's first senior class will graduate this spring.
The seven students in the senior class, three of whom have been at the school since they were in pre-K, were honored with digging the first hole, as were parents Chi-Lin and Donald Sun, and Sandy and Rob Meadows.
The building was a long time coming, and due to students and parents working to bring the high-school classes to Waldorf, Rob Meadows said.
"We are here to celebrate the seed this class planted four years ago that will grow into a building," he said.
The Sun and Meadows families were instrumental in making the building a reality, offering to help match up to $800,000 in donations, said Denise Ogawa, Waldorf's director of development.
The 10,000-square-foot building will sit on a half-acre lot adjacent to the school overlooking Fairview Park and the Talbert Nature Preserve.
The building will be made out of shipping containers — a fairly new, but growing trend in the U.S., said architect Todd Spiegel.
The building, which is expected to be completed in May, won't look like stacked shipping containers, but will be aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly, he said.
The school wanted the portability of being able to move if its lease isn't renewed and have the ability to grow and change with time, said Paul Conolly, chairman of the school's board of trustees.
Beyond the flexibility the containers offer, the building's eco-friendly materials reinforce the school's philosophy, which is to include environmental consciousness in the curriculum, he said.