Planning is well under way for the first phases of Measure E school repairs and upgrades after local voters approved the $1.5 billion school bond measure last November. The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education recently held a meeting where staff presented an estimated schedule of initial projects for the next three years. The entire implementation of Measure E could take up to 10 years, as schools receive air conditioning along with utilities, seismic, accessibility, fire alarm, lighting and other upgrades. Some schools will see new athletic facilities, including swimming pools and all-weather tracks and fields.
“We anticipate this will be an eight-year process, at least,” Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser reported to the school board. “Every part of the school district will be touched in one way or another, and these are fluid plans. These are goals.”
Phase one will include new tracks and fields at Cabrillo, Poly and Wilson high schools, where projects could begin as soon as summer 2017.
During the same time frame, the school district will begin to set up interim classroom space (portable classrooms) at Kettering, McKinley, Riley and Webster elementary schools. The interim space will accommodate students while the permanent structures at those schools are improved. Once those four projects are completed, the portables will remain in place to serve as interim classroom space for some of the other nearby schools during subsequent phases, saving tens of millions of dollars that otherwise would have been needed to provide interim space at each of the district’s campuses during improvements.
Phase two would begin in summer 2018 or sooner with air conditioning and heating projects at Cleveland, Rogers, Jefferson, Stephens, Lindsey, Lakewood High, Kettering, McKinley, Riley and Webster schools. In most cases, students will remain on campus in interim structures. The planned exceptions are Cleveland, Rogers and Jefferson. Cleveland’s third through fifth graders would move to Monroe, while all of Rogers’ students would move to Butler, and Jefferson’s eighth graders would move to Browning. School bus transportation would be provided if an interim school is not within walking distance.
Phase three would begin in summer 2019 or sooner. This phase includes air conditioning and heating projects at Barton, Bixby, Burcham, Garfield, Longfellow, Mann, MacArthur, Muir, Stanford, Washington and Wilson. The elementary schools in that group would see third, fourth and fifth graders move to nearby schools, with the exception of MacArthur, which would stay on site. Muir, a K-8 school, would see eighth graders move to Stephens. All of Stanford’s students would move to Butler, and all of Washington’s students would move to Jordan Plus. Wilson students would remain on site.
The estimated project completion time for each school is one to two years, with elementary schools usually in the one-year range, and high schools in the two-year range. Community meetings will be offered prior to each major project, and LBUSD will continue providing updates to parents, students, employees and the community. The district will plan so that once the first three years of projects are completed, the next round can begin quickly.