PALMDALE – More than 1,000 parents, children and educators Thursday evening helped launch the opening of Palmdale School District’s newest school, David G. Millen Intermediate. The school will open its doors to students for the first time on Monday, Aug. 10, for the 2015-2016 school year.
The 7th through 8th grade public school currently has an enrollment of 904 students, but is built to accommodate 1,100, according to Brian Williams, Millen Intermediate’s principal.
Williams said the design of the 40-plus classroom facility has been in the works for more than 10 years. And though it was originally designed to be an elementary school, a group of teachers and district staff decided about five years ago to turn it into a state-of-the-art middle school “designed to serve the needs of 21st century students,” according to Williams.
Palmdale School District Superintendent Raul Maldonado said the planning and construction of the new school has been quite a project.
“If you go into those classrooms you can see we spent a lot of resources, and we really have one of the best school sites for the students who will be attending this campus,” Maldonado said.
In all, the 97,000-square-foot campus located on 16 acres of land has cost about $32 million to date, according to Williams. Funding is provided by the Palmdale School District’s school improvement bonds from Measure DD, passed by voters in November 2012, which supports construction of up to two new schools.
The principal said the school will offer a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics focus – which is different from STEM only in that it includes the arts, such as drama and other creative disciplines for students.
And that’s just part of the innovative learning curriculum at Millen Intermediate.
“We have several specialty rooms including our Project Lead the Way room, which focuses on design, modeling and robotics; our engineering room, which is a Makers Space for students to design and build; our Art and Digital Media rooms that service our Design and Marketing Pathway as well as traditional art,” Williams told The AV Times. “Additionally, each one of our science classrooms are full labs.”
Millen Intermediate will also house the district’s brand new Law and Government Academy, in which the school will work with Highland High School’s Speech and Debate Team, as well as the Model United Nations with the local YMCA.
The intermediate school’s namesake honors the district’s beloved David G. Millen, who died of ALS. Millen was a principal in the Palmdale School District for 29 years and mentored many of the district’s current principals and administrators, according to Williams.
Maldonado told those gathered at Thursday’s ceremony that the campus will carry on Millen’s stewardship toward education, saying, “The choice to keep his legacy going is really our responsibility, and we send that challenge to all the future students and leaders of this campus to continue his legacy.”
Millen’s widow, Sharon, also spoke at the school’s opening, telling the crowd that “I am humbled and honored to be here to represent David and this marvelous opportunity. David’s philosophy of life was ‘cherish the moments – make every day a great one. It’s your choice – or not.'”
Other local stakeholders who spoke at the ceremony included State Assemblyman Tom Lackey, Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford and Palmdale School District Board President Nancy Smith, among other civic leaders.
David G. Millen Intermediate School is located at 39221 22nd Street West in Palmdale.
About the authorJim Winburn is a Los Angeles area news writer, sharing samples of his work at JimmyNewser.com. –