Dublin Unified School District and IKEA Announce Partnership for New High School
DUBLIN, CA–The Dublin Unified School District and IKEA jointly announced an innovative solution to Dublin’s capacity challenges at the high school level. As widely reported, IKEA is currently seeking approval to build their third location in the Bay Area (there are existing IKEA locations in Emeryville and East Palo Alto). “We continue to be thrilled with the reception afforded us in the Bay Area, so we are excited about submitting plans for IKEA Dublin to extend our reach further into the East Bay,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. president. “This proposed store would complement the presence in Emeryville and East Palo Alto, providing Tri-Valley customers their own store.”
The IKEA announcement, the second attempt to open a store in Dublin, has been met by some with skepticism due to concerns about the impact on local traffic. A Change.org petition was even started by local residents that has garnered over 1,500 signatures.
The unexpected joint announcement with DUSD comes at a time when the District is under increasing pressure to find a solution to rapid growth at Dublin High School, where enrollment is expected to exceed capacity within a year. From Gael period quiet spaces to lab science facilities, growth is challenging Dublin High’s administration. And while the District is already working on stop-gap measures including the installation of portables to address growth, the ultimate goal is a new high school to complement Dublin High School and Valley High School. An agreement to seek solutions for a new high school was reached at the February 23rd Board of Trustees meeting. That plan took a big step forward to implementation with the joint announcement with IKEA.
We reached out to IKEA spokesperson Åsa Hermansson to learn more about the proposed deal “When analyzing our store traffic we realized that most of our customers are drawn to our stores for weekend and evening excursions. During school hours, let’s face it, our stores are ‘tömma’ [empty]. During a recent strategy meeting in Älmhult about the Dublin store it occurred to us – why not build a high school right into our Dublin location? Not only would we make more efficient use of space, consistent to our corporate commitment to sustainable development, but we’d also make it easier for our part-time workforce of students to be available for the evening shift.”
“Working with IKEA has been terrific. The opportunities to create a world class high school that combines Dublin education excellence with the Swedish do-it-yourself shelving and furniture are endless,” according to a Dublin Unified School District spokesperson. “Having a high school inside IKEA means we can incorporate real-world skills into the classroom. Students will start the year by building their own Skarsta desk (suitable for sitting and standing configurations) and accompanying Nilserik stool (available in white with a Vissle gray cushion). Students will be able to earn volunteer hours constructing Kallax shelving units for IKEA customers who are unable or unwilling to do it themselves. Additionally, students will be exposed to college life, getting first-hand exposure to dorm room staples such as futons and cushion sofas. Students at our IKEA high school location will truly be college and career ready!”
Dublin High has announced additional joint offerings developed with IKEA specific to the new campus, all meeting University of California A-G requirements:
- Orienteering 101: Students armed only with a compass and an IKEA map have to find Godmorgon Series bathroom accessories without the help of a smartphone.
- Swedish 1 and 2: IKEA products offer students a unique opportunity to learn practical Swedish, from Ullamaj to Liatorp, in this new World Language offering.
- Scandinavia Through the Ages: From the Viking Age to the Thirty Year War, famed Dublin High School History Teacher Ron Rubio is already mapping out a new multi-course curriculum focused on Scandinavia’s unique and colorful history.
- Culinary Smörgåsbord: Students are trained in the preparation of Swedish delicacies including, of course, köttbullar (meatballs).
- Engineering and Design Academy: Design projects the IKEA way: “It is achieved by combining function, quality, design and value – always with sustainability in mind.”
Because of this unique partnership, Dublin’s next high school is expected to open years earlier than originally planned, potentially as soon as April 1, 2017.
[EDITOR’S NOTE – since there are still people out there who (a) believe this was real and (b) failed to see the multiple April 1 references we’ll be clear – this was an April Fools Day gag]
(IKEA photo credits OneDublin.org)