Fourth-grader Joshua Swick thinks the Outdoor Science Center at La
Canada Elementary School is cool.
Joshua was one of the students selected to help cut the ribbon
during a ceremony celebrating the official opening of the center
“We have our own sink and tables,” he said. “We can make our own
experiments and won’t get stuff all over the carpets and in the
Students, staff and parents greeted the center’s opening with
cheers and applause at Friday’s ceremony, which also included science
presentations appropriate for each grade level planned throughout the
The project was a first for the school and the district and was
called a “dream three years in the making” by former principal Lily
Ogden at Friday’s ceremony.
“Never has the parent community taken on a project like this,”
said Ogden, who resigned as principal in June but is remaining on
campus until the end of September in an advisory role.
The covered center has stadium seating able to accommodate 120
students, a Bunsen burner, storage space, a demonstration table,
sinks and, eventually, will include a speaker system. The cost of the
project was almost $300,000, and was funded largely by private
donations, Ogden said.
Another aspect of the center is approximately 250 student-painted
tiles, one of Ogden’s favorite parts of the center. Designs including
space scenes line the walls of the stadium seats.
“The tile is gorgeous,” Ogden said. “It allowed the students to be
able to personalize this.”
The center will be used for student projects and science
demonstrations by parent volunteers who teach at local universities
or work at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.