CAMS Wins National Architectural Award

The architectural design for the campus of the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS) was recognized recently for Educational Design Excellence by American School & University Magazine. The national publication honors the best new school construction in the U.S. Located on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills, CAMS is a comprehensive four-year high school administered by the Long Beach Unified School District. It offers an innovative model curriculum that focuses on college-prep math and science. The award-winning school includes state-of-the-art physics, chemistry, biology and computer labs, plus an applied technology room, integrated science room and high-tech classrooms. The $5.4 million facility was completed last year and has room for 620 students. HMC Architects created the award-winning design. A joint-use agreement allows CAMS to share facilities of the university. Along with their high school classes, CAMS students take and excel in regular college courses at CSUDH while they are still in high school and have earned a higher grade point average in those courses than the regular college students. Major fundraising for the new facility was done by CAMS principal Dr. Kathleen Clark. Unlike other public schools, CAMS could not qualify for local school construction funds and had to appeal to many generous donors to build the new school with state matching funds. CAMS’ "outstanding buildings...integrate the high school and the university" and reflect the math and science theme of the school, according to the magazine. The architect used a mathematical grid and geometric forms to create a gateway to the university. Virtually all of CAMS students graduate and are admitted to colleges and universities--many on math and science scholarships. All except one student at CAMS have already passed the new California High School Exit Exam, while about half of the high school students in the state have not yet passed the math portion of the test. The exit exam will be required to earn a diploma beginning in June 2004.