Browning High School opened its doors to its first class of freshmen — around 150 students — yesterday, Aug. 30.
The new school is thanks to $55 million from Measure K, the bond measure passed in 2008 to improve school buildings in the Long Beach Unified School District. Browning is on the border with Signal Hill, at 2180 Obispo Ave. (near Redondo Avenue).
"I do expect Browning to set an example for students and teachers in Long Beach," Dr. Felicia Anderson, Browning High School principal, said. "We’re all very excited about the new school and the new pathway."
The school's pathway places an emphasis on hospitality, making it the first of its kind in the district.
Like other linked learning pathways — engineering, health sciences and digital art, to name a few — the school's entire curriculum will center around lesson plans with a emphasis on hospitality and restaurant industry elements.
"Long Beach is becoming more of a tourism city," Anderson said. "Hotels, dining — we need to have folks in those industries to help them grow."
Anderson added that the program will give high school students a head start in a professional career should they choose to continue their education in hospitality after graduating from Browning.
"It's another opportunity for students to choose where they want to be," she said. "Hospitality is a real, profitable industry."
Although Anderson referred to the school's hospitality classes as "fun classes (which include culinary arts and tourism courses)," she said that students still will be required to complete general education courses, including mathematics, English, foreign language and physical education.
"We are taking all of the children and educating them to meet the state standard," she said. "All of our teachers — English, biology, math teachers — they all hold a California credential in hospitality (in addition to being Calirfornia board certified in their subject)."
Altogether, Anderson noted that she is excited for the new school year and to meet the new students. And although classes are in session now, the school's journey to this point wasn't without its troubles.
"There's going to be much of the school that's usable and there will be some rooms that are getting finishing touches that will not be open for use," Chris Eftychiou, LBUSD's director of public information, said about the present state of the building.
"They're still putting the finish on the gym floor, painting some rooms — small items like that."
The school's construction fell behind schedule earlier in the year when the district addressed multiple concerns about the assigned contractor's (T.B. Penick & Sons) work.
Concerns included defective doors, inadequate roofing systems, faulty HVAC systems, drywall installation issues and more.
Ultimately, district officials decided that work with the contractor could not continue and moved forward with successfully replacing T.B. Penick and Sons with Neff Construction, Inc.
"Immediate action needs to be taken to correct the defective work to prevent or mitigate the impairment of safety, life, health, property, or essential public services," the resolution approved by the LBUSD school board states.
Detailed information on the Browning High School project and other Measure K projects is open to the public and can be viewed at www.TheGrunion.com/Browning.
The setbacks haven't deterred the positive outlook the district has for Browning, Eftychiou said, adding that despite the construction challenges and delays, the school is more than capable of being a positive learning space for area youth.
“It’s another great school that will serve students well for many years to come," he said. "And it has a program that’s designed to lead to local, high paying and high demand careers in Long Beach."
Browning High School does not have a website online. For information, go to http://www.lbschools.net, or call (562) 997-1700.
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.