On Tuesday, OUSD Unveils New High School Building at Madison Park Academy, School in East Oakland Neighborhood with Troubled Past
Oakland – East Oakland’s Sobrante Park neighborhood, a shining new feature will have a huge impact on the lives of countless young people. The Madison Park Academy (MPA) campus has a new building for its high school students. The building has 14 classrooms, two labs, six offices and other staff space.
Ten years ago, the idea of a new school building here may have seemed next to impossible. MPA is located in an area that, historically, many people avoided. “It used to be one of the largest dope traps in Oakland, because there’s one way in and one way out. So, they could protect their turf,” said OUSD Board of Education Director, James Harris in 2019. “As kids, we went to school on MacArthur, they’d say man, don’t go anywhere near Sobrante Park because it was so dangerous that you didn’t know what could happen. A lot of kids would come in and get robbed.”
A quick look at a classroom inside the new high school building at Madison Park Academy.
But now, the area has gone through a renaissance, and the resurgence of the school has been a major catalyst for change. None of it would have happened, were it not for the dedication of MPA’s Executive Principal, Lucinda Taylor, who pushed this project for more than eight years, and ensured her students had a say in the finished product. “We’ve talked to students, they’ve had a real say in how the garden areas are going to be constructed. They’ve seen the design, they’ve been instrumental in choosing textures and tiles in classrooms. It’s just been a community project,” she said last year.
“This means a lot for our engineering program,” said engineering teacher, Tawana Guillaume last year about her students who do robotics projects. “We need a lot of space, we have a lot of equipment, we’re kind of crammed in our classroom in our portable. So, the opportunity for our students to really spread out to work on large-scale projects, to have this space to be creative, it will be amazing.”
Beyond the new high school building, the project includes a renovated main parking lot, and a renovated kitchen, along with a new remote snack bar. It balances a welcoming atmosphere and accessibility with security and safety with its appropriate use of lighting, ADA-compliant walkways and spaces, and network of ornamental gates. It’s designed to provide a healthy, clean and durable environment that promotes effective teaching and learning. The building systems are designed to provide exceptional indoor air quality with a high degree of user control through the use of high-efficiency filtration. As noted above, it also includes an area set aside as a school garden for students to develop and maintain.
The $36 million project was funded through Measure B, Measure J and Fund 25. “We thank the voters of Oakland for seeing our students’ needs and supporting them with this beautiful new building,” said Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell in 2019. “We know that Madison Park is already producing many business and community leaders of tomorrow. Very soon, the people of Oakland will see their investment in these students paying remarkable dividends.”
Although some staff has already been on-site, the new building will welcome all staff and students once the community has been allowed to move beyond the restrictions in place because of the COVID pandemic.
Media is welcome at this event. Adherence to social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines is mandatory.
WHAT: Madison Park Academy New High School Building Ribbon-Cutting & News Conference
WHEN: Noon, Tuesday, September 29
WHERE: Madison Park Academy, 400 Capistrano Drive
About the Oakland Unified School District
In California’s most diverse city, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is dedicated to creating a learning environment where “Every Student Thrives!” More than half of our students speak a non-English language at home. And each of our 81 schools is staffed with talented individuals uniting around a common set of values: Students First, Equity, Excellence, Integrity, Cultural Responsiveness and Joy. We are committed to preparing all students for college, career and community success.
To learn more about OUSD’s Full Service Community District focused on academic achievement while serving the whole child in safe schools, please visit OUSD.org and follow us @OUSDnews.
This post based on a press release from OUSD to Zennie62Media, Inc.