The greater San Lorenzo community joined with the San Lorenzo Unified School District on Aug. 24 to celebrate a 15-year, $213 million school-site modernization that includes new and renovated classrooms and libraries, heightened security, parking and family drop-off areas, playgrounds, athletic fields, upgraded restrooms and roofing.
The afternoon event at Lorenzo Manor Elementary School featured a ribbon-cutting to dedicate a three-classroom building completed in 2020.
District voters in 2018 approved the $130 million Measure B bond with 74% support. In 2008, Measure O, for $83 million, passed with 68% of votes cast, and in 2004, voters approved Measure E, totaling $49 million, with 74% “yes” support. Future bond needs may include heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, as well as additional infrastructure to teach students about rapidly evolving technology, such as artificial intelligence.
“In gathering to celebrate our accomplishments at Lorenzo Manor, we honor the trust of our voters and the support of our taxpayers, who have made a historic investment in our students and their future,” said Dr. Daryl Camp, superintendent of schools. “We also pay tribute to the leadership of our Board of Education and those serving on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, who guided the vision for the broad scope of this essential work.”
Added Board of Education President Kyla Sinegal, “These bonds were absolutely crucial to ensuring that all our students have a safe environment that is conducive to learning,” said Board President Kyla Sinegal. “We continue to assess our future needs as we evolve to meet the changing educational demands of the 21st century.”
Board trustees Penny Peck, Alicia Gonzalez and Juan Campos also took part.
Additional ribbon-cuttings are anticipated in 2024, when students begin using nearly completed classroom buildings at the district’s two comprehensive schools for grades 9-12, San Lorenzo High School and Arroyo High School. Two buildings with a total of six classrooms at SLzHS will replace nine current portable classrooms, and an eight-classroom building at AHS will allow for removal of 12 portables.
Including some work planned this fall, all of San Lorenzo’s elementary and middle schools will have new security fencing, electronic door locks, access controls and video intercom systems; renovated restrooms with full American Disability Act compliance and updated facilities for special education; new roofing and gutters; new parent drop-off areas; and updated paths of travel for all school users. In addition, playgrounds have been resurfaced at Grant and Lorenzo Manor elementary schools.
At the two comprehensive high schools, restroom improvements will begin this fall, and wide-ranging security upgrades are scheduled for completion by 2026.
Bonds O and E provided such improvements as new middle school gyms, new middle and high school science labs, new playground equipment, playground resurfacing and new and modernized libraries.
All of these items were identified by school-site leaders in collaboration with district administrators and the architectural firm, LPA Design Studios, and reviewed by citizen committees.
Progress on the wide array of school improvements continued during the 2020-21 shutdown for COVID-19. Through creative scheduling, all of the work was completed without a need for additional temporary classrooms, with minimal change orders, and with rebidding where necessary to achieve the greatest cost savings, said Dr. Behrooz Danish, director of facilities and construction.
“Even though many of these individual projects are not necessarily things that would be immediately visible to someone who walks through the schools,” Dr. Danish said, “cumulatively what’s happened is a total transformation of our facilities, particularly the elementary schools.”
Before the ribbon was cut at Lorenzo Manor, fifth-grader Leia Carranza was invited to speak on behalf of all students. “I really appreciate the new blacktop, the new bathrooms and the new building," she said. "I really want to thank the community again for all these new things. Thank you!”
Also attending the event were representatives of State Sen. Aisha Wahab (R-10), Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-20) and Alameda County Supervisor Lena Tam, as well as Sara Lamnin, director of the Hayward Area Park District.