Signs of fall are everywhere — children are back to school and San Franciscans go from wearing short sleeves one day to a heavy coat the next.
Another sign of fall — many of our schools look as good as when they were first built decades ago, sometimes better, and with all new technology the original school architects likely never dreamed would exist.
The San Francisco Unified School District has the oldest school buildings west of the Mississippi. This makes for beautiful schools and for unique opportunities when modernizing and seismically upgrading our old facilities. We take seriously our responsibility to keep students safe and to be good stewards of these great public assets.
Since 2003, our district has been steadily renovating and modernizing every single one of our treasured schools. We’re making buildings more earthquake and fire safe. We’re installing green school yards and higher speed wi-fi. And, we’re upgrading learning spaces to reflect the types of classroom environments most suited for the kinds of skills our students need to thrive in the 21st century.
We couldn’t do all this without the community. San Franciscans support our schools time and again with bond measures to keep our buildings safe and modern. So, we like to keep you updated. This fall will see the completion of major renovations at 17 sites, and today I’m going to tell you about two of them.
The changes at Redding Elementary School were so enormous that, for one year, students and teachers had to move to a different school so their site could be dramatically improved. The Redding project included serious seismic upgrades which meant the building interior was basically gutted and then rebuilt with all new finishes and systems. Now you can see new ceilings, windows, roofing, lighting and flooring. There’s also brand new clocks, phones and other technology.
Across town at Junipero Serra students are dining in a new cafeteria and kitchen serving area with roll up doors to the play yard. In addition to a total modernization, the school also has a brand new four-classroom building. The exterior stucco has been completely redone and painted.
Students were extremely excited the first day they came back to their new school buildings after being away. Our children are the jewels of our community and we want them to feel it in the way we teach them, support them and the way we maintain the places where they spend most of their waking hours.