Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
Old Orchard Elementary School
Newhall School District | Valencia, California


Photos (35mm negatives, Kodak Tri-X Pan Film) by Kimm Marshall / The Signal.

Photos show classes in session at Old Orchard Elementary School in 1973. The photos were not published in the paper. (Photo file reads: "OO School / Not Used / Kimm.") A portion of the film strip was impaired during the developing process.

About Old Orchard Elementary School.

The Newhall School District's fourth school, Old Orchard Elementary started under Principal Les Tanner in the fall of 1969 but didn't have its own campus until April 1970. Its pupils were initially scattered across the district's three other schools: grades 3-5 at Newhall School (opened 1879); kindergarten and grades 1 and 6 at Peachland (1959); grade 2 at Wiley Canyon (1966).

When the children walked onto the new, $777,700 campus for the first time on Friday, April 3, 1970, they found a new-concept school facility custom-built to accommodate team teaching. It consisted of separate classroom buildings — windowless, octagonal concrete pods, each with learning areas arranged around a central common area.

The school had no perimeter fence, and children used the adjacent Old Orchard County Park for a playground.

The concept was eventually abandoned. The school was redesigned and fenced in.

Click to enlarge.

Valencia's First.

Old Orchard School Opens.

Les Tanner, who started the school year as a principal with students in three different schools, will finally have all 640 of his charges under one roof today with the opening of Old Orchard School in Valencia.

Tanner and the pupils who will populate Valencia's first school, part of the growing Newhall Elementary School District, will enter the brand-new classrooms this morning for the first time.

Old Orchard School, designed by architect Harry MacDonald, took just over a year to build and cost $777,700.

Tanner, his teachers and many of the parents whose children will be enrolled in the new school spent the week busily working to get ready for today's opening.

A flurry of transporting books, movie projectors, and other teaching aids and then the unpacking of the materials took up much of this week.

The students started the year in three different schools, but throughout the year have attended classes with the people who will be their Old Orchard schoolmates and teachers.

Peachland School housed the kindergarten, first and sixth grades until the new school's opening.

The second grade pupils attended Wiley Canyon School, while the third, fourth and fifth grades were quartered at Newhall School.

Now the students that have been scattered throughout the district will come together for the first time in the brand-new complex of buildings.

Tanner, who until this year was principal at Newhall School, said the only obstacle to overcome now is for the students and teachers to familiarize themselves with the new surroundings.

The new school is designed to house each class in a different building or "pod." Each unit is octagonal, with windowless concrete walls. The hive-like look is dramatically relieved by doors painted in bright colors with matching colors on the superstructure which house air-conditioning equipment.

"This design allows a greater flexibility," Tanner said. "When you have more than one teacher assigned to a 'pod,' the children can benefit from three or four teachers, each of whom may have a different specialty."

Tanner also believes that the "newness" of the school "will create a feeling that school is a great place to be.

"There are no fences around the school, and we share playground facilities with the county park. We hope the children we feel it is fun to be here."

The only facility that will not be in operation today, or Monday, is the cafeteria.

That operation will be in full swing on Tuesday, but until then the school will be on a limited schedule.

Download original images here. Signal Photo Archive, Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society collection.

• Old Orchard I


1969/70 Grade 2


1969/70 Grade 4


1969/70 Grade 5


1970/71 Grade 3


1970/71 Grade 5


1970/71 Grade 6


Graduations 1971/1976


1971/72 Kindergarten


1971/72 Grade 4


1971/72 Grade 6


1972/73 Grade 1


1972/73 Grade 5


1973 (Mult.)


Hart Park Cleanup 3/2/1973 (Mult.)


1974/75 Grade 3


1975/76 Grade 4

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