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Outdoor science center opens

Janine Marnien

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.