Cjon Valley Middle School gets a makeover
EL CAJON — Once one of the oldest remaining schools in the region, the debut of the completely reworked Cajon Valley Middle School was held Wednesday (Mar. 28) with a public showcase.
Basically, the whole school has been torn down and rebuilt in an eight-year, multi-phase build,” said Cajon Valley principal Don Hohimer. “We had to work around construction for a long time. Now we’re to the point where the school is completely done.”
Originally erected in the heart of the valley at 550 East Park Ave. during the 1950s, the first of four phases for the redevlopment began in 2003 using state and local bond funds.
The recently-completed final phase of the construction project was a two-story, 21-classroom building, which also includes a library and a kitchen/lunch area, at a cost of $13 million.
“It’s a beautiful facility — very modern -- so we opened our doors to show the community what an asset we are,” added Hohimer. “And we wanted to show neighborhood families what a great school this is to go to.”
Other buldings feature a state-of-the-art computer center, a joint-use gymnasium, an administration facility, and another classroom building.
“We’re you’re in a facility that was build in the 50s, there’s always going to be costs for upkeep and repairs, and it makes it difficult to compete with an old building,” he added. “Now those funds are going to better use.”
For example, Hohimer noted the computer lab with its many technological features.
“We have one lab upstairs that’s all iPads,” he noted. “Our whole campus has been wireless for a couple of years, so all Internet activities are on WiFi.”
On the campus tour, community members were treated to the new community garden; art, music and dance exhibitions of students; and iPad, iPod and iMac labs. There were also Extended Day Programs featuring student leadership (including ASB), clubs, athletics, and tutorial support.
“It’s a clean, modern facilty, so the kids feel good about being here -- I know the employees feel good about working here. It’s a school to watch right now.”
However, the best part about the project, especially for tax payers, was the total cost.
“We finished one year ahead of schedule and $2 million under budget,” noted Sharon Dobbins, the Long-Range Planning Director for the Cajon Valley Union School District. “So the surplus will be redirect by the board for other high-priority projects.”
Included are a proposed theatre/performing arts center for the north valley at Greenfield Middle School, plus an indoor athletics center for Montgomery Middle School on the eastside.
Cajon Valley Middle School was designed with materials and colours to complement the surrounding neighborhood. Indoor facilities utilize natural lighting whenever possible. plus clean HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems for maximum energy efficiency..
In between the new buildings is a redesigned Quad, with exterior study areas, an expansive lunch court and entry areas lined with palm trees.
Architecture and planning was provided by Sprotte & Waston of Vista.