Matilda Torres High School: Madera’s new high school will complete the first fully integrated educational complex in our community
By Frédéric M. Martin, MUSD Community Engagement Consultant
Groundbreaking in more ways than one, the new Matilda Torres High School construction finally started this spring. In 2014, the Madera residents decided to invest in a new high school and Madera residents are soon going to see the campus rise from the ground. The measure G campus will not only be visually compelling, it will feature many technological advancements that will significantly raise the profile of our community’s educational infrastructure. Madera will soon have one of the most advanced high school campuses in the State of California.
The expanding high school student population was the main reason behind the push for the new high school, with both current schools (Madera High and South) already exceeding capacity. The Matilda Torres High School will provide relief for student concentration. The new High School will initially accommodate up to 2,200 students, when it comes online in August 2020, with a campus footprint that will allow for an additional building for 300 more students, as the need arises. The new campus is designed to sustain the high school student population growth of Madera for another twenty years.
In 2020, the three Madera High Schools will have clearly identified themed pathways: Madera South for Ag, Madera High will transition to Construction and Automotive, and Matilda Torres will concentrate on engineering and manufacturing. The new campus will feature a computer lab with 3D printers, a 4,000 square foot fabrication shop, a culinary arts program, and a 300-seat performing arts theater will also be a permanent, dedicated addition to the Visual and Performing Arts program. Another new concept is the inclusion of a fully operational school-based health center on campus, to be managed in collaboration with the Camerana Health Clinic. The facility will provide hands on learning experience for the students engaged in the health pathway.
The new campus is considering the installation of solar panels to provide shade for the students and contribute to the facility’s energy requirements. The general contractor, Harris Construction, started moving dirt in the beginning of April. The campus will not be entirely completed by August 2019, at which time the school reserves the option of starting to educate students on the campus while still under construction. The project cost will be about $170 million, less than half of which comes from the 2014 bond; the rest of the budget will come from savings, matching funds grants and other sources.
Another key aspect of the new campus is the resulting educational complex that covers the entire K-12 experience in one location. Thanks to the vicinity of all three campuses, students from the Desmond Middle School, the Nishimoto Elementary School, and the Matilda Torres High School will commonly share the use of some of the facilities. The complex will feature a 50-meter swimming pool, as well as a warm-up pool, offering Madera a premier competition location for swim and water polo meets, and statewide tournaments.