Extensive upgrades to Point Loma High to begin next month
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 01/15/19 - 08:00 AM | 9895 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This view from Chatsworth Boulevard shows what the new three-story building will look like. It will replace an outdated building that is to be demolished. At left is the current 200 Building and at right the current 300 Building, both of which are scheduled for renovation. /  Graphic: San Diego Unified School District
This view from Chatsworth Boulevard shows what the new three-story building will look like. It will replace an outdated building that is to be demolished. At left is the current 200 Building and at right the current 300 Building, both of which are scheduled for renovation. / Graphic: San Diego Unified School District
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A scheduled vote by the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education at its Feb. 12 meeting will award a construction contract setting in motion an ambitious modernization of buildings and other improvements on the Point Loma High campus.

Following the vote, a notice to proceed will be issued by the district and work will begin. The improvements are being financed with Prop. S funds.

One of the first targets on the 94-year-old campus is removal of a round building known as the 800 Building and visible from Chatsworth Boulevard. District architects and planners quickly noted several years ago the structure was outdated.

The two-story edifice contains the school's valuable Media Center on the first floor and oddly-shaped classrooms on the second floor that radiate from a center room. The basement contains all of the site's electrical, telephone and computer connections known as the Main Distribution Frame. But despite all this, there are no restrooms in the structure.

Moving of these will take place over the coming summer, temporarily removing the school from the electrical grid but with all services back in place for the 2019-20 school year, according to Principal Hans Becker.

Teachers from the 800 Building will be moving to temporary classrooms located on the current basketball courts adjacent to the stadium, Becker said. Joining them will be teachers from the current 200 and 300 Buildings, both of which front Chatsworth Boulevard. and  are to be renovated.

When that is completed, the 800 Building will be demolished.

In its place a new three-story building will rise fronting Chatsworth Boulevard. The building will feature a new media center on the first floor and 10 state-of-the-art classrooms on each of the second and third floors. A multi-functional central outdoor space is also planned for student use.

Also coming to Chatsworth Boulevard are new bus turnout spaces to allow for easier traffic flow plus reconfiguration of the main school parking lot on Clove Street, landscape and hardscape improvements, construction of new security enclosures, practice fields and technology upgrades.

The district website shows completion of these projects in approximately 18 months.

"I'm thinking realistically two school years," Becker said. "I don't see us moving in mid-year. I see delays and unexpected things, so in my mind's eye I'm thinking two years."

That timetable would have staff and students occupying the new facilities in August 2021.

District officials have studied predicted future student populations at PLHS and are planning these projects to serve those numbers.

Current projects nearing completion are the installation of new bleachers in the main gym, installation of new security fencing along Chatsworth Boulevard and a new marquee due to be installed at the intersection of Chatsworth and Voltaire Street by the end of February.

Planning for all these undertakings began several years ago with open meetings between district planning and architectural staff and the public. One of the first projects was the controversial lighting of Pete Ross Stadium. Some community members insisted the school's field would be rented out almost nightly to raise funds, causing horrendous noise and other injurious problems.

A special field use agreement was adopted by the school board that limited night events at the stadium to 18 per year with lighting turned off by 7 p.m. nightly when student athletic teams are practicing.

The district installed computer-aimed LED lighting that has very little spillage into nearby properties. Extra security was brought in on football game nights.

Becker followed the agreement stringently, not violating the agreement once. He said  comments from nearby neighbors at mandated follow-up meetings after the first year of lighting resulted in positive feedback from the community.

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