New Digital Media Arts Building: a Community Effort

Becca Sanchez

Joseph Rabinovitsj

Yesterday evening, the Foundation for the Future, Facebook, and the M-A administration held the dedication of the new Digital Media Arts Building, a.k.a. the I-wing. In addition to providing aesthetic enhancement of Menlo-Atherton’s campus by means of its minimalistic yet elegant façade and peaceful tree-lined walkway, the building also embodies the willingness of the Silicon Valley technology community to promote and incorporate the technological arts in the local public education system.

When Facebook moved its headquarters to Menlo Park in 2011, it wanted to integrate itself into the local community.  Cindy Folker, the Executive Director of M-A’s Foundation for the Future, contacted Facebook in 2011 to alert its officials of an opportunity; while the construction of the Digital Media Arts Building was well under way, the new building was still in need of equipment. She communicated with Grady Burnett, Facebook’s Vice President in Global Sales and Operations, who had graduated from Menlo-Atherton twenty-one years ago.

Facebook then donated $96,000 to the Foundation of the Future to equip the Digital Animation and Video Studio with thirty-two state-of-the-art iMacs. At the ribbon-cutting, screens displaying dozens of video and animation students shouting “thank you Facebook,” were visible, as the community showed its appreciation of the donation.

As Mr. Burnett explained, he and Facebook hope for students to be educated, excited, and equipped technologically at school, and feel that the Digital Animation and Video “room is the best way to do it.”

Multiple other community organizations across the peninsula and the state also contributed to the building. The Foundation for the Future raised $1.7 million to contribute to the construction and equipping of the I-wing.  Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gave the Foundation $3 million in 2009 upon the building’s conception along with $900,000 worth of government-granted bond measure J’s.

John Giambruno teaches his Video Production and Digital Animation classes in the I-wing’s new Digital Animation and Video Studio. As Mr. Giambruno told me from his microphone in his sound-proof recording studio equipped with a sound-deck, mixing-boards, a powerful Mac Pro, six monitors, and many other things one can twist, push, and pull: “Facebook’s contribution allowed this lab to have pretty much everything it would need to be state-of-the-art.”

Dave Fischer, father of an M-A sophomore, was impressed at the state of the studio and believes that it is “good for Silicon Valley” because it helps students become savvy with cutting-edge technology and “prepare[s] them for college,” which would ultimately perpetuate the Silicon Valley intellectual community.

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9 Responses to “New Digital Media Arts Building: a Community Effort”

  1. Sam Parish on September 11th, 2012 10:19 pm

    The Digital Media Arts Building looks really good. And it’s really cool that Facebook helped to make it all possible. Without that, students wouldn’t be able to have all those new computers. It’s nice to see how such a large company can impact our school. And to think that this wouldn’t have happened if Facebook didn’t change its campus!

  2. Sarah H on September 11th, 2012 10:37 pm

    I think it’s great that M-A is committed to improving its facilities. Staying on the cutting edge of technology will really help improve the quality of media classes as well as gauge the interest of students.

  3. Hannah on September 12th, 2012 8:59 pm

    This new building is awesome! It really adds a whole new modern aspect to MA that matches the other newer architecture (such as the new gym and PAC) on campus. Very lucky for the kids that get to use it!

  4. jrafael on September 13th, 2012 7:40 pm

    Its different seeing the new building! It’s really nice to know that our school has the ability to build this and give the media students a nicer area to work in. The best thing about it is that Facebook help make this building for MA.

  5. kwoods on September 13th, 2012 8:15 pm

    This building reminds me of how privileged I am to attend such a well-kept school with modern resources. I think that majority of the student body takes our classroom computers, video production equipment, etc for granted. A huge thank you to Facebook and Foundation for the Future for making all this happen!

  6. David Schmitt on September 14th, 2012 2:56 pm

    I really wish that I had a class in that building this year!!! I do find it very nice that Facebook has a hand in the local community, between this and the internships that they offered to kids from EPA this summer!

  7. egrose on September 14th, 2012 7:29 pm

    Thank you Facebook! The new building looks (and is) incredible, and will provide even more opportunities for our students to enhance their abilities using technology and other forms of media.

  8. amacfarlane on September 14th, 2012 7:43 pm

    It is a pleasure to stand on the balcony of the new building and stare out over the M-A campus. While the loss of those beautiful trees by the track does continue to sadden me, standing with the wind blowing in my face and the campus stretched out before me, I am again glad to have this new building among the old.

  9. Connor Woods on September 14th, 2012 10:20 pm

    It’s really cool to see how a company as big as Facebook has taken interest and helped out in the local school. Its a great looking building and from what I’ve been told the classrooms inside are really nice. Cant wait to see it for myself.