Construction of new heating and air conditioning systems has begun at the first six schools in the Long Beach Unified School District to benefit from Measure E, the $1.5 billion school bond initiative approved by voters in November 2016.
Stephens, Kettering, Garfield, Riley, Cleveland and Rogers schools are the first of 51 campuses that will have new heating and air conditioning installed over the next several years. The phased plan calls for students on campuses where construction takes place to be accommodated temporarily either in new portable classrooms on the home campus or in classrooms (portable and permanent) on nearby campuses for a period of several months to one year.
In most cases, only some grades will be moved, but for Stephens Middle School, all 830 students were temporarily relocated in January to the former Jordan Plus campus, about 15 minutes away. Most students are bused from Stephens to Jordan Plus each morning and returned to Stephens each afternoon.
“It’s been a challenge with students who are not accustomed to being bused,” said Principal Salvador Madrigal. “The transportation time is making it a longer day, but we’re making it work, and we’re grateful to be able to return this fall to newly air conditioned classrooms at our home school.The move occurred efficiently and we benefited from the clear instructions we were given by the move team regarding how to pack,” he added. “It was reassuring to know that we would be taken care of during the process.”
History teacher Kevin Smith noted that all his books and supplies arrived intact, although his classroom was not quite arranged the way he preferred.
"I wish there had been a way for me to tell the movers how I wanted the desks to be set up, since I ended up having to rearrange them myself."
This type of suggestion is welcomed by the Facilities team, which recently sent an email survey to staffs of all six schools asking for their feedback on how their moves went.
"We want to be able to do this more efficiently and smoothly in the future," said Alan Reising, executive director of Facilities Development and Planning for LBUSD.