Laguna Blanca School unveiled its new Center for Science and Innovation during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.
The new classrooms will serve grades 9-12 on the upper school’s Hope Ranch campus. Administrators also plan to bring the younger students on field trips to the new facility.
The construction is part of a $8.5 million fundraising campaign, “Building on Strength: The Campaign for Laguna’s Future.” A total of 137 donors contributed.
In addition to the new classrooms, Laguna increased its endowment by $2 million.
Laguna renovated its existing science labs and added a new building to offer more classroom and office space. The project is a total of 5,500 square feet and includes labs dedicated to STEM, biology and physics.
The Nakamura STEM Research & Innovation Lab was busy Monday, as parents watched robotics team members show off their latest robot.
John Pagano, director of STEM, told the News-Press that students are enjoying their new classroom.
“It’s such a safe space for these kids to come in,” he said. “You can’t help but want to build stuff because you’ve got access to all these tools and all these things that they’ve never had before — whether it’s virtual reality headsets, a compound miter saw, and everything in between.”
Previously, he kept drills and other tools behind his desk to hand out. Now, students can access the materials they need from brightly colored cabinets.
Harrison Jones, a senior at Laguna, said it used to feel cramped in the classrooms. Now, with an additional lab, students can spread out.
The average class size is 9-14 students for the science courses.
Classrooms received new technology, including a plant growth chamber, as part of the renovations.
School staff, board of trustees members and campaign co-chair Elisabeth Fowler thanked the ceremony’s attendees for their contributions.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals of Santa Barbara County named Ms. Fowler “Philanthropist of the Year.”