$265 million bond prompts vast changes on Sequoia campus

Schools in the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) will divide the funding of $265 million from the Measure A bond, which was passed June 3, using the money to construct new facilities and maintain existing ones.

Aaron Jobson, one of the key architects working on the project gave a presentation to the Sequoia community Sept. 4 about the progress and planning of phase one of the construction, which includes the construction of new facilities to meet the school’s need.

The new building will most likely be two stories tall and house 11 classrooms, including eight standard classrooms, two science classrooms and one over-sized room intended for use by one of the career academy classes. The committee hopes to include an outdoor courtyard near the new building. The architecture will reflect that of the surrounding buildings on campus.

As the plan stands now, the portables P1-P4, bike cage and batting cage will be relocated to a different spot on campus, and the district maintenance buildings and bus lot will be demolished and moved off-campus. The portables will be used by the district for independent study based on need. The Teen Talk building will be demolished, and the site maintenance building will move to the lot adjacent to the girls’ locker room

A committee made up of Sequoia staff, district personnel, members of the PTSA and a Sequoia student, which represents the stakeholder group, is in the process of developing a Site Master Plan (SMP) and expects to have a finalized draft for review soon. Construction will begin in June 2015 and is expected to be finished for the 2016-2017 school year.

An SUHSD demographics report for the 2020 school year estimates that there will be 2400 students enrolled at Sequoia, a number the district hopes to be prepared for.

“We want to put ourselves in a position to be ready for the influx,” principal Sean Priest said. “We prioritized classrooms—that’s what this bond is about, and that’s what we need to provide students with.”

The number of classrooms is based on a 2,400 student projection for the 2020 school year. The number of classrooms is calculated based on the expectation is that there are 32 to 35 students per classroom, according to Priest, which usually pans out to be 27 students per class due to free periods and teacher prep periods. The goal is to grant every teacher his or her own classroom and refrain from cramming too many students in classrooms or using portables.

Though the parking lot by the baseball field will be torn up, the plan is to extend the gym lot to maintain the same number of parking spaces.

“One thing that was very clear is that we can’t lose parking,” Jobson said.

The committee plans to communicate with the community about the progress of the project through updates on the district website and printed materials, as well as occaisonal presentations for the general public.

Phase one is expected to be finalized by November, and the committee will then work on phase two, which deals with maintaining existing facilities.

“We have a finite amount of money, so we need to work together to find out what is more important for the education of the students,”Jobson said.