Orange County’s newest comprehensive high school was formally introduced on Thursday.
Flanked by purple and white balloons, leaders of the Irvine Unified School District — both past and present — gathered with school staff, students, parents and local dignitaries to dedicate Portola High School, home of the Bulldogs for many generations to come.
The state-of-the-art Portola High campus, led by Principal John Pehrson, actually opened its doors back in August, welcoming about 450 freshmen within two years of its ceremonial groundbreaking. The school will add a new grade level each year through the fall of 2019, when current ninth-graders will represent the first senior class. Ultimately, Portola will accommodate about 2,400 students.
Portola High School was designed in partnership with HMC Architects, and IUSD officials say the campus was designed to meet criteria developed by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, which helps create sites that are healthy, comfortable, energy-efficient and aligned with modern teaching and learning.
In fact, Portola resembles a college campus, with amenities that include:
- A performing arts building with a 720-seat theater, black box and dance studio
- An elective building that will house video production, 2-D and 3-D art, music rooms and more
- A student center featuring a collaborative learning environment, a library with dedicated quiet rooms and an Innovation Lab
- A Makerspace facility
- 21st-century classrooms with common areas and flexible furniture for collaborative learning
- Dedicated science labs
- A special education facility to facilitate essential life skills
- A “green roof” topped with vegetation to enable hands-on, sustainable learning
- A 2,044-seat gymnasium that includes training facilities and dedicated team rooms
- A 2,940-seat stadium with a rubberized track and artificial turf
- An aquatics center with a 50-meter pool
- Eight tennis courts
- Varsity and JV baseball and softball fields
- Track and field facilities
- Two full soccer fields
Portola High School occupies roughly 42 acres along Irvine Boulevard, west of Alton Parkway. The official address at 1001 Cadence, and the website is www.iusd.org/phs.