Fairfax County's high school of science and technology will open in August with special facilities -- sponsored and designed by local businesses -- for the study of telecommunications, computer systems, life sciences-biotechnology, energy and material sciences.
The specially equipped laboratories and the continuing participation of local businesses will make the Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology "unique" in the nation, said Fairfax County School Superintendent William J. Burkholder at a press conference yesterday.
"Our notion was one of not only providing the best kind of academic foundation in mathematics and basic sciences, but to provide laboratory experiences that emphasize the technological spinoff that has occurred as a result of the advancement of science," Burkholder said.
The college preparatory school, to be located in Annandale, will use advanced technology equipment to supplement science courses. Corporate commitments of money and hardware will enable the school to open with five laboratories this fall and five more laboratories the following year.
The laboratories are designed to provide students with hands-on experience with the tools, instruments and machines used in five fields:
* The Telecommunications Laboratory, sponsored principally by AT&T Communications, will include a television studio and control room, a radio station, a weather station and a satellite earth station.
The total cost of the lab is expected to exceed $600,000 and will be borne by several companies including Satellite Business Systems, Telesystems and Rolm.
* The Life Sciences and Biotechnology Laboratory will give students experience in genetic engineering techniques such as cloning and cell fusion. Hazleton Laboratories Inc. is the lead sponsor. The Energy and Engineering Science Laboratory, sponsored primarily by Virginia Power, will include generators, solar panels, transformers and conductors. The Computer Systems Laboratory will help students study the design, operation, development and programming of computer systems. Honeywell Inc. has donated $160,000 worth of computer equipment to the school and expects its contribution to the school to exceed $300,000 over five years.
* The Material Science Laboratory, sponsored by Atlantic Research Corp., will provide for the testing, design and development of various manufacturing materials.
In the fall of 1986, the school plans laboratories in the fields of robotics, microelectronics, instrumental analysis, optics and modern physics, engineering/graphics.
Each laboratory will cost from $250,000 to $500,000, said Robert E. LaRose, president of the Fairfax County Public Schools Education Foundation, a coalition of local businesses that assisted in the design and funding of the school. The foundation has assets and commitments for about 25 percent of the school's costs, said LaRose, who is also the president and chief executive of Advanced Technology Inc.