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Magnolia Auditorium, Students Benefit From Update
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Magnolia Elementary School students are led by Melissa Clark as they do five minutes of gentle stretching during a recent indoor P.E. class. Teresa Hammond/The Leader


As new Multi-Purpose rooms are being completed to welcome the student bodies of both Cloverland and Fair Oaks elementary schools, Magnolia Elementary is enjoying its own modern update.

Earlier this school year the speakers were tweaked, a screen was dropped and training completed as the 76-year-old campus received a new state of the art Audio/Visual upgrade.

“We wanted to make sure we delivered a high quality system that won’t be obsolete in a few years,” Oakdale Joint Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Larry Mendonca stated. “If you want to talk about the latest technology and highest quality, I think the district really delivered.”

The new package was installed as a result of the “Facilities Update,” which was a wish of Magnolia staff and administrators. It includes a state of the art movie screen, projector, surround sound speakers and a command center which can be managed remotely from an iPad.

“The quality is extremely competitive,” Mendonca said. “We hired the folks that did the contract at the Gallo Theater for the Arts. It’s a very advanced system.”

“We are so proud to be able to have this system at our school site,” Magnolia School Principal Julie Minabe said of the school’s newest addition, “and are anxious to use it to its full potential.

“The first time it was demonstrated to staff, everyone was in awe.”

“The real dynamic thing about this unit,” Mendonca added, “is it’s a very intricate system. The projection unit delivers a theater quality picture.”

Minabe shared that the Magnolia staff and student body are already reaping the benefits of the new improved system. Currently, it is being used most regularly in the way of indoor Physical Education and movie viewing in the late afternoon for the ASPIRE, after school recreation group.

“The idea to use if for PE came from the teachers who had originally been using P.E. videos in their classrooms,” the principal said.

This week, in fact, is perfect timing for the school to utilize the system, given the string of predicted triple digit temperature days.

“Students are required to receive 100 minutes per week of P.E., which is difficult to do outside during inclement weather,” Minabe shared in regards to factors including heat, rain and air quality. “With this fabulous system, we are able to get students moving in a more climate controlled environment.”

An estimated two to four classes can participate in a video streamed workout during the 30- to 45-minute time frame teaching staff may choose. Students begin with gentle stretching and transition to any and all types of workouts including Zumba, basic calisthenics and running in place.

“The idea for the update actually came from the district,” Minabe said, “mainly for productions, assemblies and the like. We’ve also talked about the possibility of using the big screen to project pictures during the science fair. We used it for our Jog A Thon kick-off assembly. It was great.”