The Sunshine School (now Hilltop High School) was built as a New Deal project in 1937 to combine the Sunshine School for Crippled Children with the Buena Vista Health School, which served children affected by lung and heart ailments. Despite its intended use, the Sunshine School had very few accessible features. Some Buena Vista students had to be carried up the stairs to their classes.
Hilltop is now used as a high school and support service center for pregnant and parenting teens; a Family Service Agency site providing childcare, counseling, and community services to the public; as well as the offices of the San Francisco Education Fund. While updating the site to current standards and uses, Hamilton + Aitken paid particular attention to the quality of finishes throughout, given the historic importance of the building. For instance, to retain a piece of the building’s historic use, we repurposed the mosaic tiled walls of the building’s original hydrotherapy pool to serve as the kitchen servery line. The overall result of the project is a multifunctional, modern building that serves the community, pays homage to its past, and now has an elevator!