Out with the old, in with the new
School may be out for the summer, but the South Tahoe Middle School is still a bustling place. Construction workers and their heavy machinery swarmed the campus Tuesday, dismantling the old and building the new. All the activity is part of Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s Measure G fund projects.
Included in those projects are 10 state-of-the-art classrooms set to open this fall at the South Tahoe Middle School.
Almost half the money for the $9.6 million classroom project comes from a competitive Overcrowding Relief Grant, granted by the state to help schools replace portable classrooms with permanent facilities. By replacing the 11 former portables, some of which were more than 20 years old, the new two-story building will free up about three acres of campus, said Dr. James Tarwater, LTUSD Superintendent.
“You’re maximizing your hard-surface so that you can use your fields,” said Tarwater. “By getting rid of all those portables, which are about 1,000 square-feet each, and stacking the clasrooms, you open up more space.”
The grants usually go to urban schools squeezed in by the city. In South Tahoe’s case, it’s snow and not buildings that’s the problem.
“Because of the restrictions five months out of the year on the use of the campus, mountain districts like ours could compete for the grants. When you have that much snow, you tend to be off your playing fields. In certain campuses it’s really too deep for the kids to play,” said Tarwater.
The space will be converted into blacktop for sports practice and an entrance for the new wing.
For Beth Delacour, principal at the South Tahoe Middle School, the new classrooms and the modernization of the old facilities is like getting a whole new school.
“We are really excited about the new space and remodel going on at the school. I am so excited for our kids to have this great space to learn and grow,” Delacour wrote in an email.
Other Measure G projects completed in the past year or currently under way include a media and design arts building for the high school, a student union, gym modernization and a sports medicine academy. The whole district is undergoing a facelift built to last.
“It’s ready to go for another 25 years,” said Tarwater, looking out at the busy lot in front of the middle school’s new building.