Measure K UPDATE

Keeping It Local

former DeMille class president Joe Meza

Local Hiring Procedure Resolution

A resolution of the governing Board of Education of the Long Beach Unified School District adopting a district procedure to encourage local source hiring and local business participation on certain contracts funded by Measure K.

[Resolution] [Superintendent Letter to Community April 18, 2012]

Student Leader Returns to Build New School on DeMille Campus

When 15-year-old Joe Meza received the Cecil B. DeMille Medal for outstanding leadership as president of the Class of ’79 at DeMille Junior High (later known as DeMille Middle School), he never dreamt that one day he would return to build a new school on the very same site.

Meza, a graduate of Lakewood High School and Whittier College, is a foreman with Berg Electric Corp., subcontractor to Hensel Phelps, which is the general contractor for the new Ernest McBride High School on the site of the former DeMille campus.

Meza has been working on site since last July, when the preliminary groundwork started. He supervises a team of electricians responsible for wiring the entire 150,000-square-foot campus. The project, now about 20 percent complete, is expected to be finished by fall 2013.

“The electrical work starts at building foundation and ends in the final stages of construction with interior building finishes,” says Casey Pennington of Hensel Phelps. “As an electrical foreman, Joe is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of this work go without a hitch.”

“It’s astounding to think that the school where I first learned leadership skills is where I now practice those skills on the job daily,” says Meza.

After college, Meza moved to Long Beach, but in 2000, he purchased his childhood home in Lakewood from his mother when she moved to Lake Tahoe. Since then, Meza and his wife, Rebecca, a third-grade teacher, have lived in the home on Nipomo Street.

backhoe operator Mike Boer played with his kids at DeMille

School’s Neighbor Crosses Street to Go to Work

Mike Boer recalls many sunny Sunday afternoons when he and his children played football and soccer on the lawn of DeMille Middle School. There was no place that they spent more time together or had more fun. After all, they lived across the street.

Today, 25 years after the Boers moved into their house on Parkcrest Street in Long Beach, the kids are grown and gone, but Mike and his wife still live in the family home.

The owner of Boer Backhoe Co., Mike makes his living digging holes and trenches. He personally dug dozens of trenches recently for the foundation of the new school. The endeavor is no small task: he has moved a total of 4,000 cubic yards of dirt and recompacted another 1,000 cubic yards of soil for structural placement.

According to general contractor, Hensel Phelps’ onsite superintendent Richard Browning, Boer’s short commute to work has enabled him to help out in a pinch. “He’s a team player who has been available to work onsite at the end of the day when an issue came up unexpectedly and needed to be resolved prior to the next day,” says Browning.

The new school is the first of three small high schools to be developed under the Measure K initiative. It will open in fall of 2013 with three academies focused on preparing students for careers in law enforcement and forensics, healthcare, and engineering.

As a neighbor, Boer says he is excited to see the progress being made on the state-of-the-art buildings. “I see how things have changed in the time I’ve lived on Parkcrest, and I think the new school will benefit the community,” he says. “The career-focused curriculum will help students get into high-demand jobs and contribute to society.”


Visit the Ernest S. McBride, Sr. High School project page.

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