UCLA will open a school for middle and high school students in 2017 in Westwood Village funded by a $100 million donation from David Geffen, officials announced Wednesday.
Half of the students enrolled in the academy will be from the greater Los Angeles community while the other half will be children of UCLA faculty and staff, said Phil Hampton, a UCLA spokesperson. The specifics of the application process have not been decided. The school’s development will be spearheaded by the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.
The new school, called the Geffen Academy at UCLA, will be located on Kinross Avenue near Novel Cafe. The Kinross Recreation Center building will be renovated to accommodate only sixth and ninth graders in its first year and will later expand to include about 600 students in sixth through 12th grade.
Officials will spend the $100 million gift renovating the Kinross Recreation Center building, or KREC, hiring faculty and developing curriculum for the academy, according to a press release. With this donation, Geffen’s contributions surpass $400 million. Geffen is the largest individual donor to UCLA.
Officials will use $30 million to sustain the academy throughout the years, $5 million of which they will use to build the network of secondary schools, according to the release. The academy will not use undergraduate tuition funds or other funds for the school, Hampton added.
The University will admit students from middle- and low-income families, in addition to faculty members’ children, to ensure the school’s student body is diverse. Geffen’s donation will also fund a financial aid program for about 40 percent of the students who attend, according to the press release.
“Data has shown the best learning environments are those that are diverse,” said Chancellor Gene Block. “This is a chance to get a slice of Los Angeles and bring in a whole set of experiences that will be valuable to students.”
Carole Goldberg, vice chancellor of academic personnel, said the academy can improve faculty recruitment and retention at UCLA because it would be convenient for faculty members to send their children to school in Westwood.
“Faculty at UCLA care deeply about education for their own children,” she said. “Educational opportunities are a major consideration when they decide whether to come to or remain at UCLA.”
Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, said he hopes the academy’s students can use UCLA’s resources.
“I believe students (will be able to) take advantage of UCLA courses, labs and athletic facilities at the university,” he said.
Suárez-Orozco added some students from the UCLA Lab School, a pilot elementary school that includes students from preschool through eighth grade, will move on to attend the academy.
Goldberg said the school aims to prepare students for college, but the academy’s graduates will not be given preferential treatment during the UCLA admission process.
Faculty and staff in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies will be involved in the planning for the academy, Suárez-Orozco said.
The new school is part of a larger plan to create a network of community schools, which currently consist of the Lab School and Community School, Suárez-Orozco said. Graduate School of Education and Information Studies GSEIS is also in the process of creating a new community school in South Los Angeles to expand the network.
As the academy expands, UCLA will build another structure adjacent to the Kinross building. UCLA will look for alternative locations for KREC, Hampton said. Specifics of the academy such as the application process, what faculty will be hired and the cost of attendance have not been decided.