Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock

Fanning back to being home

4 years ago by in ( News , Old/New , Reunion , Schools , Uncategorized , Welcome to Brea , What's New! )

    Last February I had a tour of the under-reconstruction Fanning Elementary School; Superintendent A. J. “Skip” Roland and Principal Susan Metcalf led me through a sea of drab, gray concrete with girders and wires hanging down from the bare ceilings.

      It showed little resemblance to the colorful classrooms that were part of the school prior to the 5.1-magnitude earthquake on March 28, 2014.

        Although the earthquake was centered in La Habra, Brea got its share of shaking and Fanning suffered major damage, including the release of encapsulated asbestos that I referred to as toxic fairy dust. It was a mess and grades two through six and their teachers were quickly moved to extra classrooms at Laurel Elementary School.

          It also became an opportunity to finally update the 44-year-old school.

            But that is all in the past and this week Fanning’s upper grades returned to completely renovated, and asbestos-free classrooms and it looks like a new school.

              Last week, Metcalf gave me a preview tour of the pod-shaped classrooms that open into a central area. The entire school is now has Wi-Fi. Every classroom has energy-saving, bright LED lighting, LCD projectors, wheeled cabinet room dividers and wipeable bulletin boards. They replaced the cloth-covered room divider/wall panels compromised by the asbestos shower.

                Most of the classroom furniture pieces are modular units, although the original teachers’ desks were cleaned, certified and back in the classrooms.

                  A new state-of-the-art computer lab, much larger than the previous one, has very cool modular wheeled tables and chairs that can be configured numerous ways to accommodate solo or team tasks. The lab also has the ability to offer interactive video conferencing. Somewhat like Skype, but on a much larger and more sophisticated level.

                    Many of us when in elementary school had pen pals in foreign countries. Imagine Fanning students interacting with video pen pals in Norway, Italy or Korea. Pretty cool.

                      The Brea-Olinda Unified School District, said Metcalf, is providing Chromebooks for the students, but not every student will have their own. She also said that all students at Fanning will have Gmail accounts, but the email will be on a protected service that basically is limited to communication with the teacher, including turning in homework and other projects. I guess that means the old excuse of “the dog ate my homework” just won’t cut it any longer.

                        While the pod classrooms, stage and other areas all have new carpeting, paint and lighting, and much that was damaged is now gone, the colorful and delightful mural that wraps around the library interior was carefully preserved and looks as beautiful and bright as ever.

                          The entire project took more than a year, much of it due to a huge amount of asbestos abatement. The cost was approximately $6.1million dollars, according to school board President Bill Hall. He added that another $1million was spent on earthquake repairs at Brea Olinda High School.

                            Fanning’s theme for this school year was “There’s No Place Like Home.” What could be more appropriate?

                              Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at
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"Thank you" for visiting Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON). First & foremost, I am a proud mother & wife. I am also a well-rounded freelance consultant. But you can call me an enthusiastic cheerleader, supporting and promoting the city of Brea and its historic iconic Charlie's Clock turned "Charlie the Clock cartoon character!" Click on the front page illustration to read about the beloved time traveling talking clock!!

  • Carolyn Campbell

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