Two new K-8 schools open in Orange County this week

State-of-the-art learning labs, eco-friendly designs and that new-classroom smell greeted students at two brand new schools that opened this week in Irvine and Rancho Mission Viejo.

teachers sit inside a library collaborating on lessons

Esencia School teachers gather inside the Innovation Center before the first day of classes.

Cadence Park School in the Great Park neighborhood in Irvine Unified and Esencia School in Capistrano Unified are Orange County’s newest campuses. They will both eventually serve students in PreK through grade eight.

Each features many of the latest designs in school construction geared towards helping prepare students for college and careers.

At Esencia, the Innovation Center is replacing the traditional library, according to an article in the Orange County Register. It has an open layout and the bookshelves and furniture all have wheels so the space can be reconfigured for whatever lessons and activities the teachers plan.

Cadence Park School, an Art Deco-inspired campus, also includes an Innovation Lab, a quad with an outdoor amphitheater and space for a garden and science activities, and a gym with a fitness lab.

Esencia opened to students Tuesday, while Cadence Park opens today.