Case Study

San Bernardino County

Highland Sam J. Racadio Library and Environmental Learning Center

Named for Highland city’s former manager and current mayor, the Highland Sam J. Racadio Library and Environmental Learning Center is a truly unique library experience. Nearly triple the size of the county’s previous library, the new space promotes community learning not only through books, but also through a variety of tactile, interactive features.

Highland Library has all the standard amenities—study and conference rooms, a computer lab, community rooms—and in addition to these, a science lab, an enclosed outdoor auditorium, and a Discovery Room that houses a variety of small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and both fresh and saltwater fish. A 2,000-square-foot Exhibit Room features permanent and rotating interactive learning displays on topics like the environment and consumer recycling, and the facility is crowned by a 15,000-square-foot rooftop garden that provides natural insulation, tactile learning features, and produce to feed the facility’s animals.

City officials placed a high priority on sustainability when they planned this facility. The center is built with 28% recycled or reused materials, makes extensive use of natural light, and utilizes high thermal-resistant materials for reducing heating and cooling loads—factors that led it to earn LEED Gold certification.

The distinctive setup of the facility led to unique mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design challenges, but Salas O’Brien’s engineers were up to the task. We’re proud that our team was able to work on this highly-sustainable and relevant project.


Highland, California

Project Size:
27,000 Square Feet

Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Design

$13.2 Million