COVID-19 pandemic delays many on-campus plans, reopening of school on Nov. 2 will not affect progress

The area in front of the building is enclosed with fences in preparation for the ongoing school construction of the landscaping of the PAC, which will include the installation of a retaining wall.

Kristel Laceste

The area in front of the building is enclosed with fences in preparation for the ongoing school construction of the landscaping of the PAC, which will include the installation of a retaining wall.

Alice Shin

Despite the completion of the $4.5 million renovation of the Performing Arts Center [PAC] since the spring semester, the coronavirus pandemic has delayed landscaping work outside of the building with no specific date set for the project to continue, school officials said.

Meanwhile, students coming to campus for hybrid learning instruction will notice other construction projects surrounding the PAC at the end of the month and starting in early December.

“Everything is in the works — these things just take time,” principal Allen Whitten said.

Whitten said the landscaping began in the spring of the 2018-2019 school year and was slated to include the following:

  • installation of brick pavers in replacement of concrete
  • seating with four circular tables like ones seen in the 90s and 100s wings 
  • Eight crape myrtle trees — shrubs known to grow pink flowers — for shade, spaced 40 feet apart

The expected completion date was the spring of the 2019-2020 school year, the same time as the March 1 completion of the PAC modernization.

As of Nov. 9, the area surrounding the campus theater building remains cordoned off with fences although the building itself is not restricted.

SHEDDING NEW LIGHT

In the 1980s, Southern California Edison [SCE] had installed light poles in the PAC parking lot outside the PAC because of safety concerns at the time, assistant principal Melissa Stinson said. However, the seven fixtures are scheduled to be removed from the end of November until Dec. 1.

By Dec. 4, the same parking lot will undergo another project — parking ports with solar panel roofing.

Once the light poles are removed, the solar panel installation will begin in two phases to allow parts of the parking lot to remain open during the construction, and these ports will have lighting to replace the lighting lost from the [SCE] removal of the poles, Stinson said.

The Borrego Solar Systems Inc. project will also include two carports to charge up to four electric vehicles at once; these charging structures are to be installed by the ADA stalls.

“When I inquired about the use of the charging stations and any associated fee, [the construction manager Alex Kang] shared that this is still up for discussion, and he doesn’t believe he will be able to share a definitive answer until we are closer to project completion,” Stinson said.

Additional features that come along with the installation of carports for electric vehicles to charge are that the solar panel structures will save electric bills for the school and provide shade for cars that park in the area.

“I think [the installation] is a great idea,” said junior Dane Soaper, who is in Cohort B and often parks in the PAC parking lot when he drives to campus. “It’ll save money, and the shade is beneficial so cars won’t get super hot inside on warm days.”