New Private School Slated for 15-Acre Pasadena Campus Reveals Plans for Demolitions, Construction, Enhancements

Published : Monday, September 17, 2018 | 4:55 AM

Details of a plan to remodel the former William Carey International University campus at 1539 E. Howard Street and convert the grounds into what will be known as EF Academy International Boarding Schools Pasadena, a campus that could accommodate up to 1,000 international high school students, are scheduled to be revealed in full Monday at the Pasadena City Council meeting.

EF is Education First, a Lucerne, Switzerland-based international education company offering study abroad, language learning, cultural exchange, and academic programs

The former William Carey International University property consists of the existing 14.82-acre campus and a 1.42-acre recreation field, north of the campus on Oxford Avenue, in the north-central area of Pasadena just south of the city boundary with Altadena.

Eleven buildings with a total area of 277,164 square feet currently stand on the campus; three of these structures would be demolished to make way for a new student residence, about 72,000 square feet in size.

The new residence will consist of three floors and is intended to house 500 students in triple rooms, with shared bathrooms, community spaces, and laundry rooms.

The rest of the existing buildings will be rehabilitated and retained, including McGavran Hall, which according to City staff appears eligible for listing as a Pasadena Historic Landmark.

Since students at the new international boarding school will not be allowed to drive, a 300-car parking space on the southwestern edge of the property will be converted to more green space, according to the plans.

The recreation field on Oxford Avenue will be enhanced as a regulation-size soccer field with artificial turf and field lights for student use, the plans showed. A new security fence is also proposed to be installed.

The proposal is currently under the Predevelopment Plan Review phase of the City’s approval process and will be presented to the City Council as an information item on Monday.

EFEKTA Group, Inc., the real estate group representing Education First in North America, submitted the plans as part of the early consultation process that involves input from City staff and opportunities for the community to express concerns about the project.

In April, Education First held an open-house information session with residents of the neighborhood and announced they were close to finalizing the purchase of the campus to convert it into a high school with international students, although some local students can be accommodated. At an EF Academy campus in New York, about 10 percent are local students and the rest come from as many as 12 different countries.

Education First was founded by Swedish businessman Bertil Hult in 1965 as “Europeiska Ferieskolan,” Swedish for European holiday school, or EF for short. The company initially combined language learning with travel abroad.

In 1994, the acronym EF officially was changed to Education First.

EF started in the United States in Santa Barbara in 1983, after Hult came to the United States with his family and chose the area as the place to put down his roots. The group continues to maintain an international language school in Santa Barbara.


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