By 2015, Jordan High School will have a complete renovation of its facilities, educational opportunities and social impact, according to Long Beach Unified School District officials.
The renovation, called the “North Long Beach Initiative,” will be paid for through the local bond measure, Measure K, and will cost $105 million. According to district officials, the renovation aims to transform the campus into a “model 21st Century learning environment.”
Before renovations begin, however, a series of public meetings has taken place. District officials met Tuesday night with about 75 members of the Jordan High School community and residents of north Long Beach to discuss how it will proceed with planned changes.
At the meeting, draft recommendations based on surveys completed by more than 1,000 residents and numerous focus groups were unveiled. Specifically, the district sought community opinions regarding these recommendations.
“We really believed that it was important that the policy that would affect the north Long Beach community actually came from the members of the community,” said Robert Tagorda, LBUSD program administrator. “We did not want not to create a top-down decision or plans.”
For those who did not attend the meeting and still want to comment on the initiative, the district has an online system where residents can view the policy recommendations and offer opinions. To view and comment on the recommendations, go to www.lbschools.net and click on “North Long Beach Survey,” located on the right hand side of the home page.
Draft recommendations include expansion of educational opportunities through relevant and varied classes for students, expansion of safety and security efforts and tutoring and mentoring opportunities for students, Tagorda said.
Some of the key issues community members want addressed are joint use of district and city facilities — such as for recreation purposes — and getting access to low-income health care and employment training. The latter services would have to be offered by the district partnering with outside organizations.
While the $105 million is only for facility renovations, the initiative allows the district to pursue grants from governments and foundations, Tagorda said. This money will help the district pursue some of the social and medical services the community is requesting.
The district has already received a grant through the help of Claremont Graduate University, which is working with the district on the initiative by preparing reports for policy recommendations. Through this partnership, the district received a grant that will offer students the opportunity to participate in a summer program at Harvey Mudd College where they will improve their math, science and engineering skills.
The next step for the initiative is to present the policy recommendations to the school board next month. In the coming weeks, though, Tagorda said he will meet with neighborhood associations and community leaders to finalize the plans.
The structural renovation of the high school will be completed in phases so as not to displace current students. Architects and school officials are brainstorming ideas for the new facility’s design to present to the school board for approval.
Ninth District Councilman Steven Neal said he supports the initiative, and that he is appreciative of the district investing in Jordan High School, particularly because it fits in with the new North Village Center redevelopment project.
“The district’s investment is going to be the highlight of the transformation of the north Long Beach Atlantic corridor,” he said. “I’m really pleased that Jordan High was chosen as a school that they are going to be revamping, and the timing couldn’t be better.”
Students, too, said they are grateful for the renovation.
“Remodeling our school will make our community prettier,” said Ana Vasquez, 15, a Jordan High School freshman.