San Marcos High School students need to look no farther than the new classroom wing for cutting-edge computer labs, anatomic models and hospital equipment.
“Welcome to the new and improved San Marcos High School,” Principal Ed Behrens said.
He said there has always been strong Royals spirit, but the new archway entrance and landscaping on the school’s busy corner at Hollister Avenue and Turnpike Road communicates it to the community.
San Marcos, 4750 Hollister Ave., hasn’t had any major improvements since 1959, and many of the portable classrooms — eight of which were replaced for the new wing — were more than 40 years old.
The wing includes computer labs, classrooms, science labs, a health technology room and a Health Careers Academy library. With the new building, parking lots and entryway, a new electrical system was installed for half the campus, according to district project manager Carl Mayrose. It was all funded by the voter-approved bond measures.
“Good schools are a yardstick by which we measure the value of the community,” said Susan Deacon, president of the Santa Barbara school board.
Academy director Marcene Newman, who missed Thursday’s ribbon-cutting because of jury duty, has told Noozhawk that she hopes to double enrollment — now at 35 students for each grade — with the additional space.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors in the academy take classes to prepare them for a career in health care and participate in local internships. During the three-year program, students get local hospital internships and visit the UCLA Medical Center. Fifteen students in the academy go through SBCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program each year, and so far, San Marcos students have a 100 percent pass rate, teacher Rick Ceriale said.
He added that the Regional Occupational Program helps fund the academy and some of the new equipment.