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School will work on its ABCs

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

South Tahoe High School is getting a $5 million face-lift.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education unanimously agreed Tuesday to go ahead with plans for improving the high school.

Buildings A, B and C will undergo interior changes and underground snow melting pipes will be installed throughout the campus. A staff lunch room will be installed as well as glass-enclosed eating areas, said Steve Morales, facilities director for the district.

Bidding for the project should begin in the last week of February or the first week of March, he said. Construction is slated to begin at the start of the summer and expected to be completed prior to next school year.

“We are still finalizing the schedule,” Morales said.

Three new classrooms will be added along with the expansion of three existing smaller classrooms.

A culinary arts classroom will be located where the cafeteria kitchen now sits and both will receive new equipment.

The high school was built in 1967 with additions in 1970 and 1974. After this summer’s modernization, the school will be up to code with current American Disability Act standards.

The board of education held two public meetings in January to discuss the modernization. The project is considered the first of three phases to improve the high school.

“We wanted, as a board, to get all the information we can because it’s a good project,” said Lennie Schwartz, board president. “Five million is a lot of money to spend.”

The money will come from a 1999 bond monies. The district plans to get $3.7 million in reimbursement money from the state government at a later date.

Jeff Rodenius, of Murray and Downs Architects in Placerville, is the architect for the project. He said the improvements, which he has been working on since 1999, will provide teachers with classrooms that are more suitable for present day curriculum.

For instance, the classrooms in the improved buildings will have more capacity for computers, Morales said.

The district provided Bijou Community School with snow-melting pipes at the entrance of the school last summer, but has not fitted an entire high school campus with pipes.

South Tahoe High Principal Karen Ellis is looking forward to having new underground pipes.

“It will take care of a lot of accidents of students and staff falling,” she said.

In addition to the changes, the student locker areas will be substituted for meeting places and storage space. The only lockers on campus will be gym lockers.

The project has been in the works since 1987.

“The facility was built in 1967 and nothing really has been done since that time, except for building a new science wing, and it’s time,” Schwartz said.


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