Playa Vista Elementary School

The Project.

The best location for a new school isn’t always ideal. The site for this new elementary adjacent to a wetland creek, below bluffs, on in-fill, and methane rich soil, presented multiple challenges for Leighton’s engineers and geologists.


Los Angeles Unified School District


Playa Vista, CA


  • Environmental
  • Geotechnical
  • Geotechnical Testing

Project Fact:

This school has a unique partnership with the Loyola Marymount School of Education.

The Leighton Solution.

The first challenge was the issue of compressible clay, which would require replacement or driven piles. Neither of these options was feasible, so Leighton engineers proposed surcharging the compressible clay to induce settlement, and verified this method during a pilot test.

Settlement of the compressible soils was measured using a five-magnet extensometer installed to a depth of approximately 50 feet. The dissipation of water pressure in the clay induced by the surcharge fill was monitored using multi-level vibrating wired piezometers.

The project is a model of sustainable design, in a community committed to green building.