By Scott Turnbull, Superintendent Soquel Unified Elementary School District
“The road to success is always under construction.”
— Lily Tomlin (American Actress & Comedian)
It’s time for another Measure C Update. As you probably know, Measure C was our district’s General Obligation Bond graciously approved by our community in November 2016. If you drive by our schools, you will see with your own eyes that a lot has taken place in the two years since the bond was approved. We are very proud of the progress of the projects. Students have been playing on their new playgrounds for over a year now at all of our elementary schools.
At Santa Cruz Gardens, four old portable classrooms have been removed from the campus, and four new modern classrooms are being built to replace them. This site is scheduled to be finished first, this month, December 2018. You read that correctly, this month! We are on point to have students learning in these new classrooms when they come back from winter break in January of 2019. Interior painting has already taken place in these classrooms. Installation of cabinets and a teaching wall will be the next steps.
The other three sites, Soquel Elementary School, Main Street Elementary School, and New Brighton Middle School, are all scheduled to come to completion this summer, in August of 2019, in time for the new school year.
At Soquel Elementary School you can now see the frame in place for the new two-story classroom. The two-story, eleven-classroom, building at Main Street Elementary School is also moving right along though not quite vertical yet. Interim classroom housing at both Soquel and Main Street Elementary Schools have allowed work to take place throughout the school year.
At New Brighton Middle School, multiple projects are taking place simultaneously. There’s the new building along Monterey Avenue that will give us six new and modern classrooms to replace our old portable ones. Along Washburn Avenue, we have the construction of three new classrooms, two of which are specially designed for our Art & Woodshop Programs.
On the other side of the New Brighton Gymnasium, the Physical Education Complex complete with new locker rooms and a studio classroom have taken shape. Once we are out for the summer, the existing Art and Woodshop classrooms will be refurbished for a total of nine new classrooms at New Brighton in addition to the Art, Woodshop, and PE-specific learning spaces. Interior painting will soon be taking place there.
Bathroom tile and epoxy flooring are taking place at New Brighton and Santa Cruz Gardens. Site work such as benches, sidewalks, and canopies will begin as new buildings across the district move closer to completion. We have also started work on our district-wide technology backbone upgrade that will allow us to deploy more student devices simultaneously online. Ongoing information for Measure C-related construction projects can be found on the district’s website at www.suesd.org/suesd-measure-c
We are thankful for the team that serves as our Citizens’ Oversight Committee, which recently met on September 17, 2018. This committee reviews bond expenditures and holds the district accountable for spending bond dollars in the manner consistent with the voter-approved authorization. SUESD hosts a website dedicated to the Measure C Citizens Oversight Committee at www.suesd.org/measure-c-citizens-oversight-commit
As we move closer to winter, one of the goals of our construction plan is to be “weather-tight,” meaning projects won’t be negatively affected by wet weather and other internal work can still take place. We’ll also be working on some smaller projects such as the installation of digital marquee signs at our campuses to increase communication with school communities.
Our district is very grateful for the support our community showed by supporting Measure C. It has been a driving force among our staff to demonstrate that gratefulness by ensuring that Measure C Projects move along at a rapid pace. With the support of our top-notch construction partners, we are proud to have stayed on-point with our ambitious schedule and pace.
It is inspiring how everyone in the school community has come together to make these projects work. It is an understatement to say that construction has an impact on a school. Parking, play area, walking routes, moving classrooms, and more are all ways that schools are impacted.
Everyone’s patience has been sincerely appreciated. From the teachers who have had to move into interim classrooms to parents who have had to navigate ever-tighter parking lots, we realize that this has not been the most convenient year. We are appreciative and feel confident that the new buildings will be worth the sacrifice. The ultimate reward will be seeing our students learning in modern classrooms.