Renditions of conceptual fencing to keep students safe.

Campus projects from modernizing plumbing and asbestos removal to new classrooms and state of the art athletic facilities were under review at a recent San Benito High School meeting. 

Board of trustees gathered Nov. 28 to discuss an updated facilities and construction report for San Benito High. An estimated 80 million will be spent on high school improvements since county voters approved Measure G and Measure U.

Presented by Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum and Elise Koufos of AEDIS Architects, the report provided a comprehensive review of all the projects that have been completed under voter-approved bond measures as well as “concurrent” projects.   

Approved by the voters in June 2014, monies from Measure G have allowed for Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) updates though out campus, modernization of the special education classrooms, fire and life safety upgrades, a new drop-off and loading zone in Baler Alley, a new public address system throughout campus, updated restrooms for students and staff, a staff lounge, and partially funded the Visual and Performing Arts and Academic (VAPAA) building near Mattson Gym. The $42.5-million bond also helped fund the Career Technical Education building (CTE), that was ready for students on Aug. 10, the first day of school.  

Measure U funds are designated to help fund major improvements to the campus including upgrades to science classrooms and labs, repairs to old plumbing and outdated electrical systems, improvements to school access for students with disabilities, additional classrooms to address overcrowding and continued growth, and the removal of asbestos, lead paint and other hazardous materials throughout campus buildings. The $60 million bond was approved by voters in November 2016.

Koufos started the presentation stating that the VAPAA building was near completion and would be ready for classes next semester. She said the move in date was set for Dec. 18. The VAPAA building will feature a fine arts classroom, dance room, seven classrooms in the upper level and an overflow parking lot for events. 

Classroom modernization is set to be completed in Summer 2018. Exterior ADA upgrades and secondary exits in science classrooms are to be added. 

They also provided updates on the athletic facilities. The multi-purpose field is set for completion in May 2018 and is currently in the bidding process with Blach Construction. The track and field, softball area is set to be completed in Summer 2019 and the aquatics complex is set to be completed in May 2019. 

Tennenbaum introduced the idea of having a Verizon Wireless Cell Tower near the school’s football stadium. The tower would be located behind the visitors’ side of the bleachers.  

“It is an opportunity for the district to make revenue and basically what we’re looking at is the possibility of working out a letter of intent with Verizon,” he said adding they still had a long way to go. 

He continued saying, “…it’s a free-standing cellphone tower so, it’s not attached. Basically, Verizon would have all the fiscal resources and flexibility to put it in and the district would be able to receive revenue over a period of 25 years and it is a significant amount of revenue.” 

He cautioned the board saying if Verizon’s timeline didn’t match the districts then they “wouldn’t move forward with the project.” 

Tennenbaum also presented the budget saying while the numbers were estimates they were “just shy of $80 million dollars.” 

“Our goals right now is we’re under budget. We fluctuate by a quarter of a million dollars,” he added.  

Course Modifications and New Courses 

Board members also approved course modification and new courses to the curriculum. 

Director of Educational Services Elaine Klauer presented the agenda item saying some of the classes were already being taught but a name change was needed to be eligible for college prep credit for the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems.  

“… The UC program has to actually approve it for us to be able to say ‘it’s a g requirement,'” she said. “I don’t decide that. The UC system decides that. It has to be submitted and typically it is a name change as well as whether or not the curriculum matches the A-G requirements. She added staff and teachers also want to make sure that classes are part of the CTE (Career Technical Education) pathways.  

To meet minimum admission requirements to a four year university, students must complete 15 yearlong high school courses with a letter grade of C or better, according to the UC admissions website

A CTE pathway is a set a sequence of two or more CTE courses within a student’s area of career interest. According to the CTE website, “they are designed to connect high school classes to college, industry certifications, and/or a career.”   

The modified classes include: 

-Agricultural Fabrication 

-Ag Communications and Leadership  

-Business Accounting  

-Culinary 1 

-Culinary 3 

-Teledramatic Arts 

Also approved were six new courses. three of which are capstone classes that would complete the CTE pathways.  

Board member Delay asked about funding for the new courses. 

Klauer said that while the modified courses typically wouldn’t have a lot of changes to the materials being used the new courses “would definitely need textbooks.” 

“There is also some other CTE equipment that will be funded through the CTEIG (Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program) grant. So, we do have money for that as well as the curriculum fees,” she added. 

According the California Department of Education, the CTEIG grant is set up to provide students in kindergarten through twelfth grade with the knowledge and skills to transition to post secondary education and employment.     

The new courses include: 

-Agricultural Engineering 

-Environmental Horticulture Science 

-Culinary 2 

-Ethnic Studies 

-Principals of Engineering  

-Constructing Algebra II