Laguna Blanca School Opens New Science Center

By Joanne Calitri   |   October 5, 2021
Laguna Blanca School Science Chair Staci Richard and students cut the ribbon on the school’s new $4 million Science Center on September 27 (Photo by Joanne A Calitri)

It’s open – and it’s beautiful.

On Monday, September 27, there was a ribbon cutting and VIP guest reception for the new 5,500-square-foot Center for Science and Innovation at Laguna Blanca School’s Hope Ranch campus, which houses the Nakamura STEM Research and Innovation Lab, the updated Jackson Physics Labs, the Mosher Foundation Outdoor classroom, Gainey Biology and Chemistry Lab, and the Hagerman Environmental Research Space.

STEM science teachers Clara Svelund and Zach Moore with Jim Jackson at the Laguna Blanca Science Center

Guests who funded the center included Shuji Nakamura, a Nobel Laureate and UCSB CREE Distinguished Professor in Materials Science, and his wife, Yuki; Jim Jackson of Montecito’s Ann Jackson Family Foundation; Ed and Sue Birch of The Mosher Foundation; Tracy and Michael Bollag;and Elisabeth Fowler,co-chair of the fundraising campaign and recently named Philanthropist of the Year. Sue, a former Laguna Blanca teacher, opened the school’s first computer science lab in the 1980s. Jackson at his Physics Lab shared, “The campus improved their science facility to offer a broader array of programs, and our family is proud to support it now and in the future.”

Additional funders of the $4 million campaign not present were Chris and Bob Emmons, Alixe Mattingly, Lisa Hearst Hagerman and George Hagerman, Alicia Miñana and Robert Lovelace ’80,the Gainey Family’s Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation,and the Zegar Family Foundation, along with funder co-chair Josh Connor.

Also attending were Jim and Mary Morouse, Billy Fitzpatrick and Tom Tolles, Science Department chair Staci Richard, STEM/Science Instructors Zachary Moore and Clara Svedlund, Innovation Center Director John Pagano, August 2021 appointed Head of School Ron Cino, Head of Lower School Montecito Andy Surber, students, faculty, and staff.

“Co-Chairing Building on Strength: The Campaign for Laguna’s Future, it was an absolute pleasure to work with our whole community to realize this project to benefit our students, faculty, and campus for the long term,” Fowler said.

Shuji Nakamura and his wife, Yuki, with Elisabeth Fowler
Laguna Blanca students with Mosher Foundation funders of Laguna Blanca School Science Center and former computer science teacher Sue Birch with husband, Ed

Tech equipment in the center includes fume hoods, biotechnology equipment, and a controlled growth chamber in the Gainey bio and chem lab; 3D printing, fabrication tools, circuit design, digital creation of augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D CAD content in the Nakamura lab; PASCO Scientific Stations for collecting experimental data in the Jackson Physics lab; marine biology and environmental science studies via the Mosher Foundation Outdoor classroom and Hagerman Environmental Research Space.

The ribbon-cutting program notes speeches by Surber who announced the purchase of their Montecito campus, Fitzpatrick and Tolles, Fowler, and Richard – all presenting a detailed listing of the equipment and courses to be taught, avenues of development with UCSB and schools nationwide, and the legacy of the center.

Along with students, Richard cut the ribbon on the center.

Cino concluded the reception, leading the guests in the traditional school cheer of “Go Owls!”

 

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