September 1, 2000

New $13.1 Million Preuss School Campus Opens Sept. 5 at UCSD for 431 Students

A total 431 new and returning Preuss School students will begin studies Sept. 5 on their sleek new 75,000-foot campus at the University of California, San Diego.

Completed in just 17 months since groundbreaking, the $13.1 million facility will be formally dedicated at ceremonies scheduled Oct. 10, 2000. In the meantime, the students will get accustomed to a campus of five two-story classroom wings, administrative and library buildings, a multipurpose center and an expansive sports field.

The school opened its doors last fall at UCSD in temporary quarters on the Thurgood Marshall College grounds. The 150 sixth, seventh and eight grade students selected by lottery form 503 applicants set precedent as attendees at the only public charter school in the state to be established on a university campus with private donations and capital. The school is named in recognition of a $5 million gift made by UC Regent Peter Preuss and his wife, Peggy, of La Jolla.

This year's 431 enrollment includes 125 sixth grade students, 130 seventh graders, 88 eighth grade and 88 ninth graders. The majority comes from the San Diego Unified School district, but there also are representatives from Poway, Mira Mesa, San Ysidro and Linda Vista. At steady state, in the year 2003, the school will accommodate 700 sixth through 12th graders.

While the faculty last year numbered seven, a total 22 teachers-recruited from throughout the U.S.-will be on hand this year. Heading the staff is founding principal Doris Alvarez. UCSD faculty members and students serve as tutors, interns and mentors.

Mission of the Preuss School is to prepare low income and educationally underserved students for admission and graduation from a university. All students will take four years of mathematics, laboratory sciences and English, three years of a foreign language and fine arts, and two years of history. New to the curriculum this year are classes in community service and music appreciation, with a choir planned. An expanded sports program also will be offered.

The school has a longer school day, longer class periods, and a longer school year than is traditional. Classes range from 20 to a maximum 25 students.

The new campus is centered around an outdoor amphitheater, designed to accommodate the entire student body for assemblies and performances. One of the five classrooom wings is dedicated to state-of-the-art science laboratories, outfitted with lab benches, equipment and fume hoods. The classroom wings, all wired for extensive computer use, are interconnected by covered walkways and overhead steel trellises.

Noted Principal Alvarez: "Our teachers are both inspired and energized by this phenomenal teaching facility. We are excited for our students, who will experience such extraordinary opportunities in the new Preuss School.

The school is located at Genesee and Campus Point Drive on UCSD's East Campus.

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