- The Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, Los Angeles Unified School District’s newest 6-12 magnet school, opened in August at the end of a 14-year effort to solve the district's overcrowding issue by constructing an additional 131 schools.
- The new 203,035-square-foot, colorful, modern solar-powered building sits on a 9.24-acre campus with a university feel which includes a visual and performing arts building and a 57,600-square-foot athletic field.
- The $163 million facility also allows community access to its wellness center and doubles as a community center.
Innovative school design, such as this new magnet school, can offer much to a community. Most superintendents and principals, however, can only dream of new innovative school designs during fantasies of unlimited capital funding. But consider that a controversial study in the United Kingdom indicated that well-designed schools can impact student learning, a factor that may help justify the next school upgrade.
While most schools will not be able to replicate this design, there are elements worth considering for future construction projects. One is the solar system that will save about $115,000 annually in utility costs. Another is the single network that supports both telephone and Internet systems while reducing equipment, maintenance and infrastructure costs. Another aspect is college campus feel, which is not only attractive, but can help ease the transition for students to a college setting in the future.
Another interesting aspect of this school is the way it was designed for community use and access. This concept not only benefits students, but also their families and other members of the community. It should also make residents more willing to help bear their share of the costs and may help the school qualify for more grant funding in the future. With other schools in the country also pursuing the idea of community-oriented architecture, this may become the wave of the future.