By the end of September, foundations had been laid and framing had begun for the new science buildings and shops. Photo by Eden Marshall.
By Nov. 1, framing was almost complete on some buildings, with plywood siding already fully enclosing some buildings. Photo by Codi Carroll.
The AHS campus is currently undergoing a transformation of renovation, development, and modernization. Construction at AHS begun in 2017, and is expected to continue for several more years. The changes include the construction of new buildings, remodeling, and even the demolition of old buildings. AUSD Director of Support Services Brant Lloyd said, “The new and modernized spaces will offer students and staff learning environments that are safe, relevant, and aesthetically pleasing.”
The most exciting and noticable change on campus has been the progress on the new science and shops buildings. The project officially began in April 2018 and is expected to be completed by July 2019. Three separate buildings will contain the new classrooms: building “A” for biology and industrial shops, “B” for chemistry, and “C” for physics, astronomy, and Earth science. In total, eight classrooms/labs, some with associated wood and metal shops, will make up the three buildings. The large classrooms are expected to be 1,300 square feet each.
Construction began after first demolishing and removing debris from the old senior parking lot. So far, the rebar/footing has been installed and the slab has been poured for building “C”, while “B” is past foundation and is already far along in the framing process. The classrooms will be centered around a courtyard, and around the classrooms will be new plaza-like spaces for students. The total cost of the project will be around $13.5 million dollars.
The performing arts and Black Box theater project, another important part of the school’s transformation, is also currently underway. The first phase of this project, the remodeling of the music building (1400) is almost completed. Renovations in the building, which includes the band and choir rooms, involved the installation of new flooring, ceiling tiles, and paint. Other parts of the remodeling included mechanical and electrical finishes, door hardware installation, and the creation of a new concrete walk on the west side of the building. With work on the building almost completed, fencing that had blocked off walkways and communal areas has been removed, and classes have been able to move back inside. All that’s left is some final light installation which will take place over fall break.
The Black Box Theater is the next phase of the project. The school’s current Black Box is located in part of the “B” building, which will be demolished in the future. The movement of the agriculture-related classes from the current ag and welding classrooms to the new science and shops classrooms will open up the large space taken up by the current ag building. This structure will eventually become the school’s new Black Box Theater. Work on the theater building should begin in July 2019 and be completed by December 2020.
A new field access ramp leading down from the higher area of campus has also been built. The ramp will be ready for student use as soon as new light fixtures are installed. The ramp and stairs replace very steep hills that were an inconvenience for people with mobility issues or injured people.
All of these new projects were funded through the Atascadero Unified School District Bond re-authorization, Measure B, which was on election ballots in Atascadero in 2014. The Department of the State Architect (DSA) oversees the design and construction of public schools, and the various companies working on the projects are RSH Construction, Wysong Construction, the PMSM Architects, Kitchell, and Ravatt, Albrecht & Associates, Inc. The main purpose of the bond measure is to help schools around the district with renovations, construction, and modernization. Future projects at AHS include the building of new tennis courts near the fields, the demolition of the B building, remodeling of the current C wing, and reconstruction of the girls’ locker room.
The current phases of construction happening at AHS will make the school more vibrant, accessible, and hopefully improve the student experience here on campus. Lloyd said, “The entire AHS community can be proud of their revitalized facilities, and hopefully that translates into a heightened sense of care and higher student achievement.” Future students will have increased productivity and learning in their well-equipped science classrooms, and they will have better access to the arts of music and theater on campus.