SANTA MARIA, Calif. – Santa Maria Joint Union High School staff had a busy 'summer break' as they have been working on designing, improving, and constructing new facilities for the more than 9,200 students in the district.
“It’s a privilege to prepare the schools for the upcoming year so that our students have the best possible high school experience,’’ said Director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Reese Thompson. “While summer is shorter today than it was 30 years ago, we managed to refresh the campuses so that they are clean and inviting when school starts again next week."
Roughly 72% of construction within the 50 classroom/administration building at the district's oldest campus, Santa Maria High School, is complete, according to Director of Support Services Gary Wuitschick.
Painting, stucco, concrete, and other work are still underway.
"The new building will help ease the congestion on Camino Colegio near the front entrance. It will also create permanent classrooms and eliminate nearly all portable classrooms," said district spokesman Kenny Klein.
The three-story building will face Morrison Avenue and include visitor parking and a bell tower, Klein said, adding that the building's architectural design will complement the older buildings.
The new structure is funded by Measure H, which was approved by voters in 2016, dollars and costs about $59 million.
The five-phase Righetti High School Modernization that started in July 2021 is about 59% complete, and work is expected to be finished by June 2023, according to Klein. Crews finished phase three, the southside 200s and 300s, in early August. That work included the library, band, choir rooms, and regular classrooms.
"The 21st-century upgrades feature moveable whiteboard walls, mounted big screen monitors with the capacity to display from the teacher’s tablet, desks, and chairs on wheels that separate easily into different arrangements and other learning aids," Klein said.
The fourth phase will focus on the eastside buildings.
The cost of this project is about $15 million and is also paid for through Measure H dollars.
Work is also finishing up on a new maintenance shop near the senior parking lot on the southwest part of the campus. The shop will replace an old facility that was demolished to make room for the recently-completed three-story building, Klein said.
At Pioneer Valley High School, tennis courts were resurfaced, two portable roofs were replaced, 12 classrooms received new carpeting, and new weight room equipment and flooring were installed.
Additional computer tables and wiring were installed at the Mark Richardson CTE and Agricultural Farm in order to accommodate increased enrollment in the metal forming and machining shop.
A teacher workroom at Delta High School was converted to office spaces as additional student support services have been added.
The Maintenance and Operations Department cleaned, repaired, and updated 800,000 square feet of classroom and support space as well as 110 acres of grounds and play space districtwide, Klein said.