Spring’s arrival always reminds me that this is a time of renewal and makes me proud of the changes we’ve seen in our campus facilities during the last 15 years.
I hope you can take the time to visit some of our schools this spring and see the transformations that have occurred and are continuing at each of our campuses in order to provide the very best learning environments for our students.
Whittier Union and our Board of Trustees have worked diligently to improve our high schools by using facilities bond dollars voted on and approved by the community. During that time and under the leadership of our Board, we have renovated and upgraded our high schools to ensure our students have the quality educational environments they deserve, paired with a rigorous curriculum propelling them into college and career. Given that we are hitting our 15-year benchmark, we wanted to remind residents and businesses that we have used these precious funds wisely.
The District’s facilities improvement program was undertaken in 1998 with a “classrooms first” priority established by our Board in keeping with their commitment to our students, their families and the communities we serve. Given the age of classrooms at each of our schools, instructional spaces were in need of modernization and building infrastructure had to be brought up to date for classrooms to be safe, accessible, comfortable and functional for 21st century instructional equipment.
That work continues under voter-approved Measure W and includes several areas for facility improvement, including building or upgrading vocational classrooms, athletic fields, classrooms and science labs. All of these projects continue to be program and instructionally driven.
Whittier Union’s five comprehensive high schools offer 14 Career Academies and the District was recognized with a career technical education award from the State. The District is committed to career and technical instruction, now and into the future. Planning for future needs within the career/tech program is underway, with $11 million in Measure W earmarked for necessary facilities and equipment needs.
In addition, our Measure W priorities include continued efforts to improve energy, heating and air conditioning systems and to address security, safety, landscaping, irrigation, and access to the outdoor areas of each school.
The District is also embarking on addressing the outdoor curricular areas of each campus. Playing fields, tracks and the District’s two stadiums are 60 years old or more. These outside areas are used by students and the community and, therefore, must be upgraded and maintained for safety, access, security and efficiency.