Sale of Killefer School Property to Chapman University Moves Forward

Orange, CA – January 23, 2020 – The Orange Unified Board of Education approved the sale of the Killefer School property to Chapman University at the regular session meeting last week. OUSD is requiring Chapman accept all historic environmental responsibility, therefore an environmental site analysis will be completed prior to finalizing the sale. Following the evaluation and purchase, a renovation timeline will be established. 

Killefer is on the National Registry of Historic Places and Chapman plans to renovate the school while preserving and honoring its history. Early ideas for the restored building are to house a yet-to-be-defined academic program as well as honor Killefer’s rich history in a way that will allow public access. Killefer School desegregated in 1944, three years before the California landmark Méndez v. Westminster trial ruling that school segregation was unconstitutional.

“We are pleased to move forward with the sale of the Killefer School property to Chapman University, knowing they will be able to restore the historic site and keep the rich history of Orange alive for future generations,” said Orange Unified Superintendent of Schools Gunn Marie Hansen, Ph.D.

In February 2014, Chapman participated in a public auction for Killefer School where Chapman’s bid ranked fifth. In September 2019, the OUSD approached Chapman regarding the purchase of Killefer School after the previous four bidders withdrew. While Chapman’s initial bid in 2014 included plans for a residence hall, future development will not include housing. With Killefer now on the National Registry of Historic Places, the renovations will focus on preservation of the school.

“The Killefer School is incredibly important to the history of Orange and of California,” said Chapman University President Daniele C. Struppa. “We look forward to bringing it back to life in a way that celebrates its history while creating an innovative new home for a Chapman department.”

Killefer Site with sign indicating consideration for sale.



The Orange Unified School District educates approximately 28,000 K-12 grade students in the Cities of Orange, Villa Park, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and unincorporated county areas.  In partnership with our community, we provide a safe, equitable, and innovative culture of learning for each scholar to have a competitive EDGE as a leader.