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South Shore school projects will be ready in September

Two South Shore schools are getting major makeovers this summer, thanks to Measure C bond money.

South Tahoe Middle School and Bijou Community School modernization projects should be completed before the start of the school year, according to Steve Morales, Lake Tahoe Unified School District’s facilities director.

“This is the culmination of almost 10 years worth of planning and effort,” Morales said. “So it’s very rewarding to be able to modernize these facilities, but we have been extremely aggressive in our project development in order to get this going. But by the end of this summer, all of the obvious construction projects will be done.”



In a May 4, 1999 special election, Measure C, a facilities bond to finance critically needed repairs and renovations at Lake Tahoe Unified schools, was passed by 82.6 percent of the votes.

Reyman Bros. Construction began work May 15 at South Tahoe Middle School. Completion is scheduled for Aug. 23 to Sept. 4. Some highlights of the STMS project include asbestos abatement, new electrical distribution, lighting systems and new plumbing fixtures. The campus will also get an exterior face-lift. In addition to a new entry way, the front of the building will also get new siding and paint. However, the aesthetics are not the focus of the scheduled improvements.




“The important thing, more than just looking good, is to make a school functional,” Morales said.

Other areas being improved include 12 classrooms, seven rest rooms, administration and counseling areas and interior corridors. The project will cost an estimated $2,515,206. The state contribution is approximately $1,575,000.

Bijou Community School was completely gutted to allow for a full modernization.

“Bijou is different because it is a tighter floor plan and there is a lot of activity over there,” Morales said. “We’re doing everything. Every space gets remodeled in this school, structurally, mechanically, electrically and surface-wise.”

Thompson Pacific Construction is handling the Bijou upgrades and additions, some of which include new doors, counter tops and modifications to meet handicap accessibility requirements. The estimated cost of the Bijou Modernization Project is $2,642,000, $1,350,000 coming from the state. The scheduled completion date for Bijou, which began June 20 of this year, is Sept. 4.

“We’re feeling pretty good about the way we’re putting the community’s bond money to work,” Morales said. “The downside is these constructional modernizations are extremely expensive.”

This summer’s additions to STMS and Bijou are the third and fourth projects to be completed with Measure C funds.

Recently, a new science wing was built at the middle school, featuring five science lab classrooms and a home economics room. Classes were held in the new wing this past May. New walkways connecting the rear of the school with the relocatable classrooms and the new main student entry way were also included in the first phase of the project.

“The science wing was a 10,000-square-foot facility,” Morales said. “It was occupied on May 1, 2000 and it wasn’t scheduled for occupancy until Sept. 11. So we’ve been moving way ahead of schedule. We’re doing very, very well.”

Mt. Tallac Continuation High School/Independent Studies Campus was also constructed during the first phase of improvements, at a total estimated cost of $739,714. It opened June 26.

Remaining Measure C projects, scheduled for summer 2001 are still in developmental stages. Bidding for the construction is currently scheduled for February of this year.

Interim Superintendent Barbara Davis said she is pleased with the way the projects are going.

“What impresses me most is the collaborative efforts of everybody,” Davis said. “The teachers had their things packed up and ready to go the last day of school, which is a huge undertaking. We’re ahead of schedule because of that kind of organization.”


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