MagnoliaCenterExcellence Johnson Favaro
A rendering of the Center for Excellence planned for Magnolia High School in Anaheim, Calif.

Expansion at Anaheim (Calif.) high school will bring technology-focused building

The upgrade includes the Center for Excellence, a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Anaheim district and the Tesla Foundation

The Anaheim (Calif.) Union High School District is embarking on a major renovation of Magnolia High School that will add two buildings

The Orange County Register reports that a 28,000-square-foot building—the Center for Excellence—will hold offices and classrooms, including lab-style rooms where students can learn entrepreneurial and cyber-security skills.

The second new building—a cube-shaped facility known as the Project-Based Learning Center—will offer space where students will do hands-on projects such as making and flying drones.

The Center for Excellence is a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Anaheim district and the Tesla Foundation, a technology think tank.

Working with the Tesla Foundation, Cypress College and local businesses, the district will provide students with a broad range of technology-related topics; they will be able to take college computer courses such as coding, cyber security, computer networking, robotics and related topics. They also will receive career help through mentoring and summer internships.

The partnership is the Tesla Foundation’s first with a high school, CEO Keith Kaplan says. The think tank focuses on “all things autonomous,” such as smart appliances and self-driving cars, and also aims to bring tech education to girls and other students who may have less access to it.

The curriculum will teach what Anaheim Union Superintendent Michael Matsuda calls the five C’s to prepare students for the career world: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and compassion.

The budget for the Magnolia High improvements, estimate around $30 million, is still being finalized. Some funding could come from a $3 million state grant, but the bulk of it will come from a $249 million bond issue voters approved in 2014.


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