Bond Project Construction Displaces Teachers but Promises a Bright Future


Alison Arevalo, Contributor

Over summer break, San Rafael High School began its third phase in the Bond Project. The Ceramics, Auto, and the Physics Academy buildings were torn down to begin bringing the vision of the new advanced STEAM building and student commons to life. Even though the whole project is to benefit the school, it has created trouble for some students and teachers.

The $160 million dollar funded project that was broken up between SRHS, TLHS, and Madrone has paid for the first three phases. The first being the heat and ventilation, the second the new SR stadium. That was 10 years in the making, but due to lack of funding, the project never took off. The third phase has begun and the front school buildings are now demolished, forcing those classrooms to relocate and also cutting off some parking for both students and teachers.

“It was emotional, it was like leaving a house, so many memories in that place,” said Ms. Herrera, a ceramic teacher at SRHS, when asked what she felt when she had to pack all her things from her old ceramics studio and move into her smaller space spread out across three portables.  

She explained how it was difficult and hard. Some valuable ceramics were lost, others were broken, and the whole process was exhausting. “It was difficult to move from a 4,800 sq ft studio to 3 temporary studios that only measure about 800 sq ft.”

Once the new STEAM building is up, Ms. Herrera hopes “to never move again.”

“Ceramics is very fun and it relieves much of my stress but the spacing is a bit of an issue, we have many projects to work on and multiple deadlines. It’s hard to work on projects when there isn’t enough space on tables to complete them,” commented Ruby Burciaga, a senior at SRHS.

Space has been a big issue since the big move. TA Nicole Gess, a junior at SRHS, said, “I help  Ms. Herrera on A days and it’s amazing how much stuff still has to be unpacked and how little space there is to put stuff.”

The SRHS Design Committee will meet soon to discuss what is next in the project. Aside from the design committee there is a separate committee made up of groups such as Link Crew, PAL, and ASB, who give their input about the student commons and about the programs going into the new STEAM building. Such classes would be the arts and different science classes.

Having the new STEAM program with a completed building can offer the opportunity to modernize SRHS “arch” programs. That means SRHS will offer more courses that compliment engineering and design.

Mr. Dennis, principal of SRHS, hopes to integrate technology into classes. Having this could be very beneficial for students, especially those who are interested in careers related to technology or engineering.

Of course teachers at SRHS will be part of this new vision.

Some students that are leaving before the finished project seemed a bit disappointed at hearing that there will be new classes offered related to engineering. Jon Kfouri, senior at SRHS, said, “I wish the project would have started earlier; that way I could have gained more experience in the engineering and design department for the future.”

Andrick Ordonez, also a senior at SRHS, said, “I want to do civil engineering in the future and those programs would have been very helpful, so I could know more about what I was going into once I entered college. I feel like I could have even gotten ahead in my studies, but I hope it helps future students.”

The expected time for this to happen is approximately four to five years, so once the class of 2019 graduates from college, the new buildings should almost be done if everything goes according to schedule.

But that it not all.

The offices in the AD building will be remodeled and turned into classrooms. However, the historic building will not be torn down. This is set to happen once the new building is up, so it’ll be some time before they begin the remodeling process.

The Bond project will start the third phase of construction in spring of 2019. As of now, nothing in the fenced area is being built. This is because it’s now a parking lot for the seniors since their original parking is closed due to the tree lot. But the goal remains the same for the project. Following the updates on the SRHS website, everything seems to be on time and the district says that the selection of the contractor will be done by January. This will allow construction to begin in February, a bit earlier than planned.