When Newport-Mesa officials began to rearrange attendance areas in
the Corona del Mar Zone last year, one of their chief priorities was
bringing more students to Eastbluff, which reopened in 1999 and has
seen its student population dwindle since then. This fall, after a
district advertising campaign, 40 students transferred to Eastbluff,
and school leaders hope that the improved science facilities will
encourage more enrollment in the future.
Several institutions, including UC Irvine's Beckman Center, are
backing Newport-Mesa on the project.
"We will have some Arnold Beckmans here at Eastbluff, and we want
them to have a state-of-the-art lab where they can learn science,"
said Bonnie Swann, Newport-Mesa's director of elementary education,
referring to the scientist who created a number of groundbreaking
The campus' plan for a special science classroom hints at
Newport-Mesa's larger goals under the $282-million Measure F bond.
The Measure F project list for each elementary school in the district
includes adding a science room, something that nearly every site in
At Eastbluff, as at most campuses in Newport-Mesa, students must
undertake science projects in regular classrooms, which prevents the
use of more sophisticated equipment and also discourages making
messes. The current science classroom at Eastbluff, overseen by
science and technology teacher Mike Hurley, has no sinks or
"If we have the right kind of kit, the right kind of resources,
they can do experiments at the tables, but there's no lab equipment
here," Hurley said.
Among the facilities Eastbluff is considering for the science
classroom are a weather station, a fresh- and saltwater aquarium and
a media wall with a projection system. The facilities at Eastbluff
will serve as a trial for the rest of the district if Measure F
passes in November, said Supt. Robert Barbot.
"By the end of the year, we want a science lab there we can learn
from, and then we'll know what the science lab at each elementary