The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

NEXT PHASE, LANDSCAPING: Removal of damaged lockers, disease-infested shrubbery provides new opportunities to beautify campus

Asaph Li
A worker sent by the district shows up during second period to clean up the fallen tree trunk in front of Room 137 Thursday, Oct. 26.

This is the last of a three-part series on the extensive changes to Sunny Hills facilities over the summer and during part of August after the 2023-2024 school year started.

Part 1 focused on the new paint scheme for campus buildings and lockers. 

Part 2 addressed school officials’ rebranding efforts with new signage throughout the campus and the need to replace some older ones that got removed. 

In Part 3, The Accolade takes a look into what other improvements are needed on campus after the completion of the summer’s nearly $400,000 makeover.

While many students and staff have been impressed with school officials’ summer makeover of the campus, they also spotted other missing elements besides logos for programs like dance and auto tech.

School officials decided to remove multiple banks of lockers located near the 100s and 10s wings because of extensive damage ranging from nonfunctional locking mechanisms to rust from rainy weather. 

This caused some temporary confusion for some students and parents who arrived on campus and were looking for a locker that didn’t exist. 

“I understand that it would be challenging to locate your locker, especially when you’re looking around and it’s not there; but I do think that admin and even ASB [Associated Student Body] did a great job at resolving the issue right away,” ASB president senior Nakul Bhatt said. “As soon as we realized it was one of those lockers that weren’t present anymore, we were able to make those changes right away, and it was really smooth.”

Bhatt was referring to when the removed lockers were listed as available during student locker selections, causing confusion for students looking for their lockers on Lancer Day.

Junior Ethan Castro said he was shocked when he passed by the location of his old locker from last school year only to find it was gone.

“I was feeling pretty sentimental about my old locker,” Castro said. “I was surprised because it felt so empty.”

School officials said that part of the campus can be beautified with some more art projects.

“We’re hoping the Art Club can maybe use the space for a mural, with the two really nice white walls,” said assistant principal Sarah Murrietta, who’s in charge of facilities and maintenance.

Art Club is currently focusing on the water mural, a different canvas project, but is considering new plans for next semester.

“We are planning on doing a mural in second semester but the location is still undetermined and we haven’t thought too much about it yet,” Art Club co-president senior Zoe Kim said. “One of our ideas is to do one at the entrance near the 10s building where the stairs are, but we haven’t discussed it yet with [Murrietta.]” 

The annual International Food Fair fundraisers provide money for the mural projects, and the goal is to have some murals done by the end of the year, Kim said.


Besides the changes and upgrades, those returning to campus for the new school year may have also noticed another change involving the campus’ landscaping, especially around the quad — the main part of the campus where most students congregate during break and lunch.

Some of the hedges around the left side of the quad facing the jumbotron have been removed. That means students can enter that side from any area of the campus instead of only through the main entrance.

“We worked with the grounds crew; the hedge, we call it, was diseased,” Murrietta said. “They attempted to treat it a couple different ways … but unfortunately they didn’t grow back, so they had to be removed and replaced.”

The grounds crew removed the plants on the east side of the quad during the summer and will decide whether to remove or keep the hedges on the west side lining the hallways next summer, Murrietta said.

Some of the ones on the west side seem to be recovering from the treatment, but most remain untreatable, she said.

At the back side of the campus near the west parking lot, a large tree in front of Rooms 137 and 138 also had to be cut down after a custodian found it a main part of it had fallen over during the Fourth of July weekend.

“Our custodian gets here first at 6:30 in the morning and sent us a picture, and it had fallen over, so they had to cut and remove it,” Murrietta said.

The district contracted with a company that sent someone during second period on Thursday, Oct. 26, to remove the tree stump with a machine.

The machine that removed the remains of the tree trunk sits in front of Room 138 Thursday, Oct. 26. (Photo by Asaph Li)

“After looking around I realized it was gone, and the area looks more empty now,” said sophomore Giselle Ko, who sat in the area occasionally last year with her friends. “The tree used to provide some shade, and I think it would be nice if there could be some shade again.”

Meanwhile, school officials decided to move the wooden tables closer to Room 137, and the tables were moved after lunch on Thursday, Nov. 16.


School officials provided the following list of other minor changes to other parts of the campus:

Some other changes include:

  • The removal of unusable roll-up metal doors at the Roundhouse
  • The removal of metal awnings outside Room 138
  • The addition of new flooring for the 10s building, 20s building and the office

The removal of the awnings caused some minor annoyance but otherwise went unnoticed.

“At first, I didn’t notice that the awnings were gone, but after a while, the glare of the light got pretty annoying,” Accolade staff reporter sophomore Kevin Lee said.

On the other hand, Room 137 fourth period Drawing and Painting senior Stacy Ebro said she didn’t notice a change.

“The light doesn’t enter the class or affect us at this time, and I don’t think removing it made a difference,” Ebro said.

After receiving some concerns about the sunlight situation, Murrietta said district officials are working on contracting with a company to replace the windows with tinted ones, similar to the ones on the other side of the building in Rooms 130-136.

As of Monday, Oct. 23, no timetable has been provided as to when that project will occur.

All the benches and tables donated by the Class of 1968 and the Parent Teacher Student Association are now placed and scattered throughout campus in areas where students tend to crowd, near the back of the library and the 50s wing.

“I was talking to Mr. Weinreich, and if any students have any recommendations, we’ve kind of been walking to see if any [benches] are in maybe direct sun that no one’s using so that we can move them to another place where more students are sitting,” the assistant principal said. 

She also said the changes to the school have gone smoothly and were completed in optimal time.

“It’s been great, and it’s been wonderful to see the reactions of the community and parents and teachers and students as they came back to campus,” Murrietta said. “It was nice before, but now we just improved on that.”

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Irene Park
Irene Park, Copy Editor
After spending her freshman year in the Journalism 1 class, sophomore Irene Park takes on the role of one of the copy editors of The Accolade. Park looks forward to contributing to the publication by enhancing reporters' stories. As a cub reporter, she received a Best of SNO award for her story about the unique ways some teachers commemorate Memorial Day. Park plans to strengthen her writing abilities and balance her growing workload while fostering new friendships. Outside of The Accolade, she is the sophomore president of the Korean Culture Club and actively participates in other clubs. In her free time, she watches anime and plays the cello.
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