Santa Clara Unified School District recently held two community forums to discuss its long-range facility plans and to inform the public on Measure BB. The Board of Trustees placed the $720 million general obligation bond measure on the November ballot to fund its future construction. The district serves over 20,000 students from preschool through adult education at its 28 campuses.
The highest priority of the bond measure, according to SCUSD Chief Business Official Eric Dill, is to build a new high school at the former Agnews Developmental Center to accommodate enrollment growth north of Highway 101.
“Right now,” Dill said, “about 800 high school students who live in that community make the drive to our two big high schools in Santa Clara and we foresee another 800 students coming from future development. Ideally, we need three high schools of around 1,600 students each, which is below the current enrollment of 2,000 students at Santa Clara and Wilcox high schools.”
Using funds from a previous bond, the district will begin construction next month on a new elementary and a new middle school at the Agnews site. Those two schools are set to open in the fall of 2020.
Other major projects include a new elementary school at the former Patrick Henry Middle School site to relieve enrollment pressure at Laurelwood Elementary. The district also plans to redevelop a site it currently leases to a private school to expand its continuation high school and build new facilities for programs serving students with disabilities.
If the bond measure passes, elementary schools will receive shade structures and inclusive playgrounds. District schools will also receive improved perimeter security, field renovations, and many older portable classrooms will be replaced with permanent buildings.
“Santa Clara Unified is a large district. Our 28 schools are in three cities across 430 acres in 560 buildings with 2.5 million square feet on campuses mostly built in the 50s and 60s,” Dill continued. “If we were in one skyscraper, we’d be over one-and-a-half times the height of the Salesforce Tower.”
“With past community support we’ve been able to maintain and begin modernization of our old schools to prepare students for modern careers,” says Superintendent Dr. Stan Rose. “Without community support, we’d be educating students in 1950s classrooms instead of in modern, innovative STEM labs.” STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.