Estancia High School

Project Overview & Objectives

The pride one has in their high school is universal, but sharing a school’s or student’s accomplishments can be far more than a mention in the annual yearbook. Estancia High School recognizes this and is taking steps to create an area that demonstrates the academic, athletic, and community achievements of their school, students, and alumni.

Estancia High School has over 1,200 students residing in the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, California. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), their mission is to ensure that all students demonstrate high academic achievement and sustain successful post-high school pursuits.

To further embrace the school mission, Estancia High School contracted The ANT Group to create and design a visual representation of their accomplishments in three halls.

1. Hall of Fame: highlighting successful alumni
2. Hype Hall: providing an energized experience while entering the school gymnasium
3. Heritage Hall: highlighting the history of Estancia High School

While giving the school a fresh, and newly competitive look to attract and retain students, this project also provides encouragement and inspiration for young students to be part of the story with their own accomplishments.



This project had to be more than just hanging some pictures and awards on walls. It required a complete redesign of the front entry where students, faculty, and alumni all enter the gymnasium. The hallway would be decked out with video monitors, a new sound system, artwork, and a fresh look to immediately get people in the school spirit.

To get the project moving and receive upfront design approval, The ANT Group completed multiple presentations to the Board of Education, the Estancia Foundation, and project committee members. Each stakeholder had opinions and financial considerations that needed to be addressed. Working within established design parameters to insure project quality, it also had to be modular, flexible, sustainable, and cost effective. This project would be critical to demonstrating school pride with a fresh, new look while being respectful of the existing architecture.


Jim Balding Architect Estancia High School CA

“Having 3D printed models and the light fixture prototype at our meetings was way beyond our expectations and not only communicated the design, it motivated all the other committee members to prioritize the project as well. We love working with The ANT Group.”

-Tim Tolzda, Vice Principal, Estancia High School


The ANT Group started reviewing existing plans and researching other school halls of fame that could be referenced as “best in class” examples. Concepts were presented to the project team with the addition of rendered representations of the Hall of Fame, Hype Hall, and Heritage Hall. The visual nature of each hall made it easy for stakeholders to truly understand the design, the impact, and how it would accomplish their own vision of the finished product.

Jim Balding Architect Estancia high School

Realistic visual representations of each Hall were critical to enriching the ongoing communication across multiple committees and stakeholders. The ANT Group also created printed renderings for the school and each project team member to post to further encourage an ongoing commitment to the project from students, faculty, administration, and parents.

Jim Balding ArchitectInitial sketches were created for each Hall that included displays, signage, and modular fixtures. Concepts of each “sketch” were enhanced using a rendering engine from Enscape. This Revit plug-in allowed The ANT Group to present a conceptual model that was still open to interpretation. Often presenting a formal (i.e., almost finished looking) model can restrict further discussion and sharing of ideas. With the use of Enscape’s cardboard style renderings, it was easy to visualize the model without inhibiting further input.

Jim Balding Architect Wall SconcesDesigning displays to include trophies, articles, photos, memorabilia, awards, etc. was critical. Working with C.R.A.F.T, a custom fabricator of displays; furniture signage; and highly interactive, visual displays would be integrated throughout each hall.

The addition of custom wall sconces would complete a unique look. Prototypes were made by C.R.A.F.T.-based on designs from The ANT Group and presented to the committee members. These sconces are not just for looks, they are also an opportunity for funding. Sponsorships of the various displays, display cabinets, and banners would be offered throughout the project. In addition to that, miniature working model sconces will be given to the highest-level donors as tokens of appreciation.

Once the interior “Halls” were designed, we turned to the entry of the school. Our mission was to draw attention to the lesser used entrance to encourage its use. The school logo was used to create a translucent cover, casting the “E” on the ground below as well.

Tools & Resources

Autodesk Revit, Enscape, Sketchbook Pro, C.R.A.F.T, GoToMeeting, Lulzbot Mini 3D printer.

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