Summer does not mean school is out for everyone at the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District. Staff have been busy designing, improving, and constructing new facilities for more than 9,200 students and the Santa Maria Valley, said Mary T. Gallas, facilities planner.
“It’s a privilege to prepare the schools for the upcoming year so that our students have the best possible high school experience,’’ said Reese Thompson, director of maintenance, operations and transportation.
On the campus of Santa Maria High School, the district’s oldest school, construction on a 50-classroom/administration building is about 72 percent, said Gary Wuitschick, director of support services. Painting, stucco, concrete, and other work is underway.
The new building will help ease the congestion on Camino Colegio near the front entrance. It will also create permanent classrooms and eliminate nearly all portable classrooms. The three-story 88,774-square-foot structure will face Morrison Avenue and feature visitor parking and a bell tower.
The building’s architectural design will complement the older buildings. It is paid for through Measure H, passed by voters in 2016, and is expected to be completed in spring 2023. The cost is about $59 million.
Six new portable classrooms have also been placed at the Saints’ campus to accommodate the growth at the site. The temporary classrooms are on the southside of the institution.
The Righetti High School Modernization, which started on July 2021 and has five phases, is moving forward and is about 59 percent complete. Work is expected to be finished by June 2023. In early August, crews finished the southside 200s and 300s – or phase 3. That included the library, band, choir rooms, and regular classrooms.
The 21st century upgrades feature moveable whiteboard walls, mounted big screen monitors with the capacity to display from the teacher’s tablet, desks and chairs on wheels that separate easily into different arrangements and other learning aids. The fourth phase will focus on the eastside or 100s buildings (industrial arts … ).
The cost is about $15 million and paid for through Measure H, which was passed by voters in 2016. Work is also winding up on a new maintenance shop near the senior parking lot on the southwest part of the Warrior campus. The shop replaces an old facility that was demolished to make room for the recently completed three-story classroom building.
On the Pioneer Valley High School campus, tennis courts were resurfaced, two portable roofs were replaced, a dozen classrooms received new carpeting, and new weight room equipment and flooring was installed.
At the Mark Richardson CTE Center and Agricultural Farm, additional computer tables and wiring were installed to accommodate increased enrollment in the metal forming and machining shop, the residential commercial shop and the diesel mechanic’s shop.
At Delta High School, a teacher work room was converted to office spaces as additional student support services have been added. Also, the Lincoln Center, which is across the street from SMHS, had its parking lot resurfaced.
Districtwide, the Maintenance and Operations Department cleaned, repaired and updated 800,000 square feet of classroom and support space as well as 110 acres of grounds and play space.
“While summer is shorter today than it was 30 years ago, we managed to refresh the campuses so that they are clean and inviting when school starts again next week,’’ Thompson said.