A year-and-a-half after purchasing the former William Carey International University campus in Pasadena for $40 million, EF Education First has broken ground on a project which will transform the former religious institution into a boarding school.

The 15-acre campus, located at 1539 Howard Street, will add new sports facilities, an auditorium, and a student art gallery, while also preserving structures such as McGavran Hall.  Plans also call for the construction of new dormitories - designed by Gensler -  which will provide housing for up to 500 students.

"Pasadena is thrilled to welcome EF Academy's first-class institution and international young scholars to our city," said Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek at the groundbreaking ceremony.  "We believe the school will complement our diverse, vibrant community and that students will benefit from the many opportunities available right at their doorstep."

The new EF Academy is expected to open in 2020, with capacity for up to 975 high school students from 75 different countries.

EF Education First, founded in 1965 in Sweden, serves over 1 million people annually, according to a news release.  The company has 52,000 employees in 50 countries.

The Pasadena campus is billed as the first major boarding school to open in the Los Angeles area in nearly 100 years.