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School Days Putting Measure E Funds to Work Written By Laura Corea-Hernandez, PIO, Gilroy Unified School District H ow amazing is the Gilroy community? Thanks to widespread community support, Gilroy Unified School District’s $170 million-dollar Measure E General Obligation Bond passed in June of 2016. Superintendent Debbie Flores has outlined how the funds will allow the school district to pursue vital improvements and new projects to better serve Gilroy’s students, families, staff, and community. GUSD recently accessed $60 million of the bond funds to move forward with Phase I of its Measure E projects. According to Superintendent Debbie Flores, “We are grateful to our remarkable community. Passing this bond measure will allow us to construct new facilities and improve the school district’s technology infrastructure.” The first phase includes three key major projects curren tly underway: a new elementary school, a new two-story addition to Gilroy High School, and Information Technology (IT) improvements throughout the school district. A New K-5 Elementary School Further exemplifying Gilroy community generosity, the Filice Family Estate was instrumental in the exchange of property with the school district so that a new school could be built in an optimal location. The 12.74-acre elementary school site is located at the corner of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Club Drive. GUSD is investing $40 million dollars in its new K-5 school, which will accommodate up to 800 students. Construction is slated to begin in 2018 and be completed in the summer of 2020. The property is currently going through the California Department of Education requirement process for a new school, along with new school construction testing and studies. GUSD has chosen the Design/Build delivery method for construction. The “schematic” development phase of the design process will involve design of the basic layout and instructional programming requirements. According to GUSD Board President Pat Midtgaard, “The school district’s enrollment is projected to steadily increase over the next 10 years, particularly in the Santa Theresa Corridor south of First Street. It is very exciting to be able to accommodate our students with a new school.” Gilroy High School Addition Gilroy High School’s new two-story math building, which will replace 14 aging portables, is expected to be completed in 2018. The new $13 million dollar build- ing will be located next to the stadium and will increase capacity with the addition of seven new classrooms for future growth. Principal Marco Sanchez said he is thrilled for the students, and noted that “a new math building is remarkable in itself. What makes it additionally exciting is all of the new technology that it will contain to teach our expanded enrollment in the coming years.” The math building’s modular design will aesthetically match the existing campus design and architectural elements from the Student Center building. The “L” shaped building will provide a quad area reflective of the campus’ Centennial Circle Elements. Additionally, a new “Snack Shack” will be housed in a building near the stadium. The project will be undertaken in three phases including site preparation, infrastructure development and new building construction. Tech Improvements Measure E funded Information Technology improvements are currently underway to rebuild the school district’s aging infrastructure. These improvements will provide advanced resources for students and teachers by allowing GUSD to integrate net- works and increase capacity while maintain- ing network stability and providing network and data security. The $12.5 million-dollar project is slated for completion in 2018. Las Animas Elementary School Principal Silvia Reyes said there are big plans for the new technology. “We will be able to pro- vide to students a variety of programs that we would have never been able to offer otherwise. We will be implementing the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Program for our kin- dergarten, first and second grade students. To be able to utilize iPads [funded through a grant] with wireless connectivity and the integration of free applications is invaluable.” Capital Improvements The remainder of Measure E funds from Phase I will be applied to capital improve- ments at multiple school district sites, a feasibility study, restroom replacements, and construction of new science labs at both Christopher and Gilroy High Schools in the upcoming summer and fall seasons. Gilroy Unified School District encompasses 15 schools serving 11,000 students on their educational journey from kindergarten through senior high school. Building and maintaining modern, safe campuses that are conducive to 21st century learning is an ongoing priority for the school district on behalf of its students and teachers. Community support makes it all possible. 42 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2017