board members focused on establishing priorities for the second phase of facility upgrades that will be made to several schools during a board meeting Thursday evening. The funds, which will go toward upgrades at and and middle schools, came from a $150 million-dollar bond measure called Measure P that was passed by voters in 2008.
Students, staff and parents, mostly from Gilroy High, filled every single seat in the boardroom to take a look at the capital improvement priorities that were handed to the board from the district’s facilities subcommittee. The subcommittee consists of two board members who met 10 times over the last year to budget project upgrades.
Of those priorities, the committee suggested that bond funds be spent on upgrades that scored the highest on a survey conducted in-house.
According to the subcommittee’s findings, those priorities include classroom, restroom and parking lot improvements to Gilroy High and South Valley, and updates to the security cameras and fire alarms at Brownell. Findings also show the need to replace or remodel the administration and relocatable classroom wings at Glen View.
As discussion over potential upgrades were in full swing, the Gilroy High Parent Club approached the lectern with their own suggestions. Parent club members presented a slide show that featured pictures of deteriorating campus classrooms, decaying ceilings, uneven pavement in the quad area and cracks and weeds growing through the tennis courts.
Several rounds of applause broke out after the group read a recommendation that included a renovation of the school’s wrestling gym, which is in such poor condition that the GHS wrestling team travels to the South Valley campus to use their facilities.
Newly-appointed board president Rhoda Bress assured the crowd that the board and district will keep their recommendations in mind.
“We’re working with a limited amount of money and we are looking at the needs of the district,” she said. “We’ve always kept our sights on Gilroy High and will continue to.”
According to Rebecca Wright, district assistant superintendent of business services, the district will have just over $16 million to spend on modernizing and maintaining school facilities after developer and construction fees. She also noted that the district was recently awarded over $12 million from the State Allocation Board for modernization projects.
Although the district has a sum of money for upgrades, Superintendent Deborah Flores warned attendees that funds need to be spent cautiously because of the budget's fluctuating state.
“Our facility needs will always exceed our amount of funds, we have to choose our priorities carefully,” she said.
Board trustee Mark Good added that the district should not spend every penny, and suggested that some funds be stored away for future projects.
The projects at each selected campus will be spread out and completed over the next three-to-four years, according to Wright, and the upgrades will be finalized at a future board meeting.