Several local schools will reopen Thursday with recently completed renovations, in-progress construction projects and new technology.
Every ninth and eleventh-grade student in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District will receive a take-home Chromebook, joining students in the eighth, tenth and twelfth grades. Will Rogers Learning Community is on track to become the first International Baccalaureate school in the district. And the John Muir Elementary School and Santa Monica Alternative School House campus has been thoroughly cleaned after five young students vandalized it in June.
The students, one of whom attends a school outside of the district, discharged fire extinguishers and flooded three classrooms, said chief operations officer Carey Upton.
The district has removed residue from the fire extinguishers and remediated water damage, but is still working to replace books and rugs that workers were unable to repair or clean, he said.
“The schools are ready to open,” Upton said. “The site is clean and ready for students and staff on Thursday.”
Other SMMUSD elementary schools are undergoing more routine renovations.
The district is nearing completion on a two-year modernization project at Franklin Elementary, Upton said.
The school has new flooring, windows, doors and paint and upgraded heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire alarm systems. Lead paint, asbestos and PCBs have been removed.
Will Rogers has recently become a candidate for International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Program and expects to be fully authorized an IB World School by late 2020, said principal Ryan Bourke.
The program will emphasize interdisciplinary learning and ask students to find solutions to problems in their local community and around the world, Bourke said. For example, a unit on ocean pollution would include trips to the coast so students could develop ideas and questions based on their own observations.
“The final performance assessment could be students designing an alternative to plastic bags or coming up with a way to divert drainage from city streets away from the ocean, and coming up with prototypes and ideas using their science, writing and social studies skills,” Bourke said.
In Malibu, the first phase of the project to combine Point Dume and Juan Cabrillo elementary schools is nearing completion despite several delays, said district spokesperson Gail Pinsker. Point Dume’s ground will have 10 new portable rooms, including classrooms, a restroom and an administration building.
Kindergarteners at Webster Elementary School will be able to enjoy a revamped play yard once school starts.
At John Adams Middle School, construction on the performing arts center will not be completed until January 2021, but the school’s new heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems will be operational for the 2019-2020 school year.
The project to separate Malibu Middle School from Malibu High School is on track, Pinsker said. A ribbon-cutting for the middle school’s classroom building was held earlier this month.
All SMMUSD high schools are undergoing major construction or renovations.
Santa Monica High School’s Discovery Building, which will house classrooms, common areas, a dining hall, parking and an Olympic-sized pool, is beginning to take shape. Walls, columns and water lines are underway, and the building’s concrete structure will be completed in November.
Samohi is also installing electronic access controls and perimeter security cameras and extending its gate along Michigan Avenue. The school’s track was replaced and is now bright blue.
The classrooms at Olympic High School that will serve as the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration have been thoroughly modernized. About 100 students entering ninth grade will inaugurate the project-based learning program, which will offer weekly off-campus fieldwork.
Malibu High School’s new E building has dealt with delays but will be open when school starts, Pinsker said. The A building is still under construction and has experienced some issues with lack of labor available for the project, so the district has approved some overtime and Saturday work to reduce delays.
“We are anxiously awaiting the completion of the A building next August that will house a new library, three new science labs and four additional classrooms,” said principal Patrick Miller.