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New high school at UC Riverside will teach science to Riverside students

By in Press Enterprise on July 8, 2017

By Stephen Wall

Thousands of Riverside teens could study on a college campus if plans for a science-themed high school at UC Riverside become reality.

The proposed Riverside Unified School District campus would be an extension of its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Academy not far from the university that serves fifth- through 12th-graders. High school students at that school could enroll at the planned campus, which also would admit pupils from other Riverside Unified schools.

“It adds a level of excitement for students to be on a college campus,” said Lynn Carmen Day, the district’s chief academic officer. “We think it can improve and increase the preparation for students in STEM fields and education.”

District and university officials are expected to sign a preliminary agreement spelling out terms and conditions of a partnership Monday, July 17. Both sides pledged in 2015 to work together to expand STEM education.

Construction could start in two years, with the school possibly opening in 2021, district officials say.

Riverside Unified would lease university property for $1 a year for the next 50 years with an option for two 10-year extensions, said Sergio San Martin, the district’s assistant superintendent of operations.

Two sites are being considered. One is Parking Lot 13, a 4.6-acre area on the northeast end of campus near science buildings and the botanic gardens. The other is 7.2 acres on agricultural land on the university’s west side, on Iowa Avenue between University Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The preferred location is the parking lot because it’s closer to the heart of the university, San Martin said. Environmental reviews and other studies will be done before school board members decide, he said.

District trustees have approved about $6 million to complete initial planning and design work. It’s too early to say how much it would cost to build the school, […]    

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