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Muroc JUSD officially completes educational complex with ribbon cutting ceremony

  • Published
  • By Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The Department of Defense celebrates today the ribbon cutting for the Desert Junior Senior High School on Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in Kern County, California. The event completes a $180 million, 220,000 square foot, replacement educational complex in response to the Secretary of Defense prioritizing the location to remedy condition and capacity problems at the facility. The overall effort was enabled through the Department’s Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation’s Public Schools on Military Installations Program in partnership with the Muroc Joint Unified School District and will support the education of 1,600 students in grades K-12 annually. 

Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation Director Patrick J. O’Brien stated: "With completion of this complex, our service members and the civilians and contractors who support them can be assured their dependents will have access to quality state-of-the-art educational facilities for years to come.  We are happy to have enabled the completion of this 10+year effort by the Muroc Joint Unified School District in partnership with the local Edwards AFB leadership and countless state officials over this period to respond to these needs.”

The Muroc Joint Unified School District, the Local Education Agency, operates five schools across 550 plus square miles in Kern and San Bernardino Counties.  Three schools - Forbes Elementary, Desert Junior Senior High, and Irving L. Branch Elementary - are on Edwards Air Force Base and were replaced with Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation support after being prioritized by the Secretary of Defense for improvement due to serious condition and capacity issues.  

The District received $142.5 million in grant funding from the Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation that was matched with $37.2 million from non-Federal state and local sources.  These funds helped to address several serious condition and capacity issues, including expired building systems, seismic concerns, foundation failures, localized flooding, and functional deficiencies in food service, information center, special needs, and music.  

Without the continued support and advocacy from Congress, the Department of the Air Force, partnerships between the community, service members and their families, the District, and the State of California, this project would not have come to fruition.   

"This new school is a reflection of the Muroc Joint Unified School District's commitment to world class education for our local communities, notes Kevin D. Cordes, Superintendent. We are proud of the collaborations and work that took place to make this vision into a reality."

The new educational complex will significantly improve the quality of life for military dependents and families, help with recruitment and retention of pilots, and improve the mission readiness of the base.  It will also provide incentives for retired pilots to remain and seek employment opportunities in nearby Palmdale, California, continuing support for the Edwards mission.   

Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.