School construction heats up for the summer season

June 24, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
School's out for summer, but campus construction is just heating up at Valley school districts.

At Fresno Unified, contractors are wrapping up dozens of construction, maintenance and remodeling projects and are getting ready to launch a few more in the Fall.

At Hoover High school construction crews are replacing portable classrooms with permanent ones.

"We're constructing this beautiful, two-story, 20 classroom building," said Lisa LeBlanc, Executive Officer of Facilities and Planning. "We have beautiful polished concrete floors which are easy to maintain and also the exposed ceilings which give the classrooms a more airy feeling to them. It'll create a much better learning environment."

Right now, workers are putting the final touches on the $8.5 million project; installing irrigation outdoors, as well as cabinetry, chemical-resistant countertops and wireless technology inside four new science labs and classrooms for English Language Arts.

"This is the first classroom construction we've done in many years," said LeBlanc. "There's approximately 15-20 portable classrooms that we will be removing on this campus and in its place will be a swimming pool we hope to break ground on in the fall."

Hoover is not the only high school getting a makeover this summer.

"We're going to be demolishing the library building right here and the administration building right here, which will provide a tremendous amount of open space for the community and also for the school itself," said LeBlanc, as she gestured to two aging buildings on the Fresno High School campus.

Construction crews are also finishing up the construction of two new buildings at Fresno High, which will house a new library, computer lab and career center. The architecture will also match the campus's historic centerpiece.

It was a lot of work," said LeBlanc. "For example the brick on the building, the arches of the windows, the medallions that are on the side of the building, we really wanted it to blend in and enhance Royce Hall."

The new structures will take the place of around 20 portable classrooms on campus and will include update security systems both indoors and out.

LeBlanc said, the classrooms will be equipped with new whiteboard technology as well as short-throw projectors to allow students to connect their wireless devices like laptops and tablets.

Solar tubes allow natural light to enter the hallways on the second floor of the buildings, and solar panels line the rooftops, making the new buildings more energy efficient. Upgrades, the district said, were made possible through a combination of Measure Q bond money and state funds. Construction is scheduled to be complete by August 19th for the first day of school.


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