On Wednesday, Oct. 23 beginning at 7 a.m., the Citizens United Committee (CUC) of UCR had their monthly breakfast at the Alumni and Visitors Center.
The breakfast began with a presentation from Lynn Carmen Day, the current chief academic officer for the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD). Day began by providing an overview of a potential project between UCR and the RUSD of building a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) high school on university grounds. Day explained that the goals of this project are to promote, foster and enrich an early college environment for high school students while stimulating a greater student interest in STEM. The district also hopes to collaborate with a research and science based institution, which, Day stated, makes UCR a perfect candidate for their project.
Day mentioned that there are already universities participating in projects like this and presented a chart with model STEM high schools across California. UCLA, UC San Diego, CSU Dominguez Hills and Cal Poly Pomona are amongst the universities that have a STEM high school on campus and their enrollment ranges from 300 to about 900 high school students, depending on the campus.
The site which was originally proposed to be on Watkins Drive is located close to the Glen Mor apartments. Day mentioned that she received many complaints from the community in response to the proposal of this site. She explained that this project is to serve the community, not anger them and thus they have decided to propose that the site be moved to Blaine Street towards the north side of campus.
The $64 million project will include 30 learning spaces, a discovery center and an exhibition space modeled after a 21st century design. The proposed STEM high school will allow an enrollment of 800 students and will have sufficient staff, student and visitor parking. The high school hopes to have adequate outdoor learning spaces and appropriate guidance found in administration offices.
Day stated that half of the funding will derive from Measure O, a $392 million fund that was raised in the 2016 election. Dale Kinnear, a member of CUC and a retired school principal, interrupted Day to ask why those funds were not being used to restore existing educational facilities as it was originally advertised by RUSD. Day did not directly answer Mr. Kinnear’s question but did state the the funds were being appropriately used to improve all schools under the RUSD.
The other half of the funding will come from California state funds, grants and UCR donations. Day concluded her presentation by reiterating the points mentioned above, hoping that this project will bond UCR and RUSD.