Following a series of pandemic-induced delays, infrastructure work resumed this week at the site of what will soon be a 975-student international boarding high school in Pasadena, according to the company vice president.
EF Academy is on track to welcome its first students in the fall of 2022, according to Shawna Marino, who serves as vice president of Sweden-based EF Education First.
Construction began at the campus,1539 E. Howard St., in late-2019 with a plan to open in fall 2020. But as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction was delayed and the opening date was pushed back until 2021, then 2022.
“COVID-19 has presented challenges to us that we’ve never experienced before,” Marino said. “Unfortunately, global travel came to a screeching halt. Our international education programs in-person had to change dramatically. We have been entirely focused on keeping the schools that we do have open safe and COVID-free. And that has been a tremendous challenge, for sure. So we made the decision last summer to pause overall construction in Pasadena.”
The work also could not be completed in compliance with pandemic protocols, she added.
“We’ve seen a tremendous number of challenges, but the good news is that we think the future of global education is strong and we are confident that once it is safe to do so and once the world reopens, EF international programs will be highly sought after,” Marino said.
“We are still deeply invested in our Pasadena campus,” she said. “We are thrilled that we are restarting infrastructure work this week. We have been on about a nine-month hold now.”
The current work centers around laying electrical utilities in partnership with Pasadena Water and Power, Marino added.
EF Education First has a presence in 50 countries, 600 offices and schools around the world, and 50,000 employees, according to Marino.
“The EF Academy campus in New York has remained open, thankfully, throughout the pandemic. We’ve put a number of COVID protocols in place,” she said.
“So we know that the market for an international education in the United States is strong and we’re fully committed to our investment in Pasadena, Marino said. “We’re excited to get started again and be on track for the fall 2022 opening.”
As work continues, the fencing around the construction site is to get a freshening up, Marino said.
“We are replacing the scrim around the perimeter of the site,” she said. “It will have a fresh new look, it will be branded with the EF Academy colors and imagery, and it’s going to give the campus a nice new look after the[old] scrim has been there for pretty much a year longer than anticipated due to the construction delay.”
“We’re incredibly grateful to the local community and our direct neighbors,” she added. “They have been very understanding through the construction delay and we’ve worked closely with the neighbors to address any issues that have come out from having a vacant site. We’ve just been really grateful for their understanding. And I know they are looking forward to the school opening almost as much as we are.”
More information on EF Academy is available online at efacademy.com.