Second Round of Facilities Master Plan Meetings Conclude
Community Provides Important Input on Priorities for Our SchoolsThird round meeting dates at your school listed at the end of this article
Improving Chino Valley schools is a long-term investment in our community. Equipping our schools with the latest technology, heightened awareness on school facility safety and incorporating interactive learning environments into existing schools to maintain academic excellence were themes that resounded in group meetings hosted by Superintendent Wayne Joseph at all 35 schools during the fall months. The meetings were part of the Facilities Master Plan (FMP) update process that has been underway since early 2015.
Most of our schools were literally built decades ago, with some built in in the 1950s, and need basic health and safety improvements. The Facilities Master Plan will allow the District to identify long-term facility needs based on demographics, facility assessment, and the District’s educational goals and then develop strategies to address these needs in a comprehensive manner. The FMP process will conclude with the production of a document that will outline facilities needs into the foreseeable future for all of the District’s existing schools and District support sites. The last FMP was completed in 2009.
Jim DiCamillo of WLC Architects led the discussions at the schools with teachers, staff, administrators, and parents.
“Instructional styles are constantly changing and your facilities are continuously aging which makes it important for school districts to do an in-depth review of existing facilities and plan for the next round of needs 15 to 20 years into the future,” DiCamillo said.
Architect DiCamillo designed Cattle Elementary School, Eagle Canyon Elementary School and Ayala High School more than 25 years ago, and more recently, Chaparral, Rhodes and Wickman Elementary Schools. His firm has been involved in modernization, renovation and new construction at just about every one of the District’s schools.
“Chino Valley Unified is unique in that many of the 35 schools need renovation, there are six schools that were recently built, and there are future schools that will still need to be built as enrollment increases in some areas,” said DiCamillo.
Almost half of the District’s schools were built between the late 1940s and 1978. All of the schools built during those decades were in Chino with the exception of Glenmeade and Los Serranos Elementary schools in Chino Hills. As the District expanded to include Chino Hills, schools were built there to accommodate the additional students. Schools also were built in South Ontario and unincorporated areas of Chino between 1981 and 1995. The next round of school building began with Chino Hills High School in 2001 and then spread throughout the entire District with the addition of Liberty Elementary and Woodcrest Junior High in South Ontario; Wickman and Chaparral elementaries in Chino Hills; and Rhodes Elementary in Chino. The District’s newest school is Cal Aero Preserve Academy which opened in 2009 in the newest portion of the city of Chino known as The Preserve.
Per current State guidelines a school is eligible for a complete modernization when it reaches 25-years-old. The state traditionally provides a portion of the funds for the modernization however there are two requirements by school districts to obtain those funds. The District must provide their own matching funds and they must have the Division of the State Architect (DSA) approved final plans to qualify for the state funds. And the process to obtain the funds is very competitive as districts throughout the state are all hoping to tap into a fund which is not endless. In fact, those funds have been totally expended over the past six years due to the state’s economic downturn making competition fiercer than in previous years.
While we have been able to make repairs and upgrades to some of our schools, additional health and safety and other facility improvements are still needed.
The FMP discussion at the school sites was based on the four tenets of a master plan:
Build something that does not currently exist to address education needs;
Renovate/Repair existing facilities;
Complete improvements to the grounds such as play fields, black top surfaces or drop off and pick up routes;
Improve technology and update furniture.
All groups had something to say in each of the four categories at two rounds of facilities planning meetings with participation from over 600 participants, including principals, teachers, staff and parents. Attending the meetings was DiCamillo, Stachura, Wayne M. Joseph, Superintendent, Martin Silveira, Director of Maintenance, Operations and Construction, and Julie Gobin, Director of Communications.
“It is truly heartening to work with a school community which understands that if we want to maintain the high level of academic excellence and prowess for our students, we need to invest in our aging schools and technology, improve classrooms, and keep our children safe,” said Joseph.
The list of needs at schools was lengthy as can be expected after several years of reduced funding from the state. Although the district has received some state funds to assist with the cost of day-to-day maintenance issues, the funds only provide a small percentage of the money needed to keep up with maintenance requirements of District facilities. With additional funds, the District can address important health and safety needs, including replacing rusty, corroded pipes and old plumbing to continue to ensure safe, clean drinking water for students, as well as remove asbestos and lead paint, update fire safety, and fix leaky roofs.
Throughout the small group discussions, many common issues emerged such as the need for upgraded instructional technology resources, wireless connectivity throughout campuses, and strengthening safety features. Joseph shared the idea of keyless entries at school sites to better secure the campuses and to alleviate the costly replacement of keys should a school key go missing.
“It would cost well over $50,000 to rekey a high school campus if a set of master keys are lost or stolen,” he said. “Moving to a keyless entry, much like the systems in use at hotels, would require the touch of a button to rekey a school rather than physically changing locks on every door.”
An additional feature of that system is the ability to lock down an entire school from an office without anyone having to go to a door to lock it.
This technology is being used on campuses throughout the country and will likely become the standard in the near future, DiCamillo said. Outdoor learning and collaboration spaces, fitness trails and tracks, shade shelters, replacing portable buildings with permanent buildings, laboratories that are flexible for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) classes, and relocating school offices to the front of the school were other suggestions offered by staff and parents. School career education programs that train students for jobs in health care, computer science, and law enforcement also need to be upgraded and expanded.
“We need to provide classrooms and equipment for quality job training opportunities,” said Joseph. We need to ensure students who do not go to college are able to acquire 21st century real-world skills and compete for good jobs when they graduate.”
“The performing arts are an integral part of 21st century education and we are finding that we need performance venues and performing arts classrooms that are structured and equipped differently than standard classrooms,” Stachura said.
Interactive classroom spaces are being found in schools throughout the nation as education shifts from the blackboard to collaboration. Classrooms are incorporating areas for learning, educating, circulating and even socializing as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking are now integral parts of standardized education.
“This shift in both curriculum delivery and learning styles can leave a teacher teaching to the furniture instead of being able to transform the classroom to accommodate that day’s lesson if communities do not invest in their schools,” DiCamillo said.
The information gathered from the meetings is being compiled and will be presented at a third round of meetings at schools in spring.
Enhancement of the educational environment is a priority for the District.
“The information from these meetings will provide a roadmap for the future that will allow the District to make strategic decisions as it continues to focus on providing students with a high quality education,” Joseph said. “Facilities play an important role in learning and our students deserve the very best in safe and healthy learning environments.”
Date of Facilities Master Plan Update Meetings at Schools (Third Round)
· March 2 – Canyon Hills @ 9:30 a.m.
· March 3 – Walnut @ 8:30 a.m.
· March 9 – Eagle Canyon @ 8:30 a.m.
· March 9 – Adult School @ 10:30 a.m.
· March 10 – Butterfield Ranch @ 9:00 a.m.
· March 14 – Anna Borba @ 8:30 a.m.
· March 14 – Don Lugo @ 3:00 p.m.
· March 16 – Rolling Ridge @ 10:30 a.m.
· March 16 – Rhodes @ 6:30 p.m.
· March 17 – Dickey @ 8:15 a.m.
· March 17 – Briggs @ noon
· April 4 – Chino HS Library @ 6:00 p.m.
· April 5 – Hidden Trials @ 9:00 a.m.
· April 6 – Cortez @ 6:00 p.m.
· April 7 – Ramona @ 9:00 a.m.
· April 8 – Townsend @ 2:30 p.m.
· April 12 – Country Springs @ 8:30 a.m.
· April 12 – Chino Hills HS @ 5:00 p.m.
· April 13 – Litel @ 9:00 a.m.
· April 14 – Wickman @ 12:30 p.m.
· April 14 – Dickson @ 3:30 p.m.
· April 15 – Marshall @ 8:50 a.m.
· April 18 – Glenmeade @ 8:30 a.m.
· April 20 – Magnolia @ 10:00 a.m.
· April 21 – Liberty @ 9:00 a.m.
· April 25 – Cattle @ 2:30 p.m.
· April 26 - Ayala MPR @ 2:30 p.m.
· April 28 – Woodcrest @ 9:00 a.m.
· April 28 – Cal Aero @ 12:30 p.m.
· April 29 – Oak Ridge @ 9:00 a.m.
· May 9 – Chaparral @ 8:30 a.m.
· May 11 – Newman @ 8:45 a.m.
· May 17 – Buena Vista HS @ 9:00 a.m.