Space-age upgrades for University High School

FRESNO, California

University High is ranked among the top 50 high schools in the country. Administrators believe students will excel in a new environment where they don't have to be in front of a teacher the entire time to learn.

Students at University High Charter School are kicking off a brand new decade this year. For now they are starting the year in portables -- this building serves as a classroom, PE and music room but soon that will all change.

Student, Shayan Zoghi said, "This is going to be the most exciting year in the history of our school. We're going to move into a brand new school."

With more than 450 students educators say they can use a little room. "As you can see it's pretty tight i can't wait to get into a bigger space," said Jim Torrance.

Head of University High Dr. James Bushman says in another month or two this $15 million modern stainless steel building will become University High's new home. It's complete with three wings -- one strictly for music. "A small band room, a large band room ... a recording studio," said Dr. Jim Bushman.

And all rooms will have the latest technology.

Dr. Bushman said, "We're also looking at giving kids handheld devices the in the future will have all of their textbooks or other reading materials."

In many ways it will be a standard school that bucks tradition. Bushman says special attention was paid to things like color, light, and furniture to match the learning environment to how students learn in today's world. "Kids multitask more they are more fidgety doing more things at once as a school you need to take into account how they learn."

Instead of white walls, rooms are red or amber ... and gone are the hard plastic desks and chairs -- replaced with ones that will rock and sway.

"Ones with a little bit of movement give kids a chance to move around more maybe keep them awake," said Torrance.

Students say their focus isn't on the space. "What we take pride in here is our academics," said Zoghi.

But they are excited about the new environment.

There will also be three fitness rooms on the new campus, one for PE, another for yoga, and because university high was the grand prize winner of this year's governor's fitness challenge -- a third room will have $100 thousand of new fitness equipment.

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