Lighting, intercom system among the fixes planned from Measure U money

Gabriella Backus, Online Editor-in-Chief

Students were impressed by Bear Creek’s repainted campus upon their return to school this year. Many other changes have also occurred that may have gone unnoticed, and more are set to occur soon.

The root of campus-wide alterations is Measure U, Local School Repair/Student Safety Measure. It was put on the November 2016 ballot and approved by local district voters.

Measure U is a general obligation bond measure authorizing $281 million in school bonds. LUSD’s website claims the funds will “help to provide safe classrooms and a quality learning environment for current and future students.”

Because so many LUSD schools were built decades ago while in an economic depression, they have been found unsafe and are now in need of health and safety upgrades. Bear Creek, built in the 1990s was built as a “bare bones” facility, lacking, among other things, a theater and a pool.

Measure U allots funds to “Retain and attract quality teachers, remove mold, lead paint, and asbestos, upgrade moldy, deteriorating portable classrooms, enhance technology infrastructure to train students in engineering, programming, and other 21st century skills, provide job training for students who plan to enter the workforce right after high school, [and] make sure local schools are eligible for their fair share of state funds that would otherwise go to other communities.”

Section 5 in the Long-Range School Facilities Master Plan, a guide for improvements needed at each district site, details the use of Measure U funds. So far, new security cameras and photovoltaic panels have been installed, and portables A23-31 have been re-reroofed. However, the list of incomplete tasks is extensive.

Principal Hillary Harrell already knows what Bear Creek should use the funding for.

“We are going to fix our intercom system, making sure our campus is secure and safe, with lighting and walking systems,” she said. “What we are still exploring is expanding our campus in a way that allows for more instructional spaces, but there’s no funding allocated yet for what we think the school needs in terms of classrooms. We also need a more user-friendly front office.”

The cost of completing all the suggested changes is a whopping $91,402,000, most of which comes from the construction of new classrooms to accommodate a steady enrollment expansion.

Currently, Bear Creek has 2,165 students. This number is expected to increase dramatically within the next five to 10 years, and calculations predict a jump to around 3,000.

Harrell believes improving the campus will not only make it more presentable but create a friendlier environment for students and staff alike.

“When you show you care enough to make the school look good, it elevates everyone’s behavior,” she said.