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How school construction has affected staff and students

Updated: Feb 13, 2022

by Chelsea Plunkett

Years of ongoing construction of Point Loma High School has relocated countless numbers of teachers and students to temporary classrooms, prompting the question, what have they done so far?

“It’s probably better to ask what’s left,” Principal of Point Loma, Kelly Lowry, said.

The construction workers are currently rebuilding the 300 building and doing improvements on Clove Street. The upgrades on Clove Street are scheduled to be completed over Thanksgiving Break.

But how did they decide what to renovate?

“We have what we call a site plan, which was drafted in collaboration with the architect, the district, and the community,” Lowry said.

This site plan includes a list of upgrades and improvements set to be done at Point Loma High School. Phase One of the project started in 2019 and is scheduled to conclude in January of 2022.

“Phase One included technology upgrades, new fire systems, and the demolition of our old 800 building, the renovation of the 200 and 300 buildings, renovation of the parking lot, and athletic improvement,” Lowry said.

Because so much of the renovation is happening in classrooms, many teachers have been relocated.

“I’m in a temporary classroom, which isn’t a science class.” Stephen Guthrie, a teacher at Point Loma High School, said. “This room has undergone some extensive changes since it was created, like a row of sinks back there on the counter and cabinets and stuff that was taken out because there was an art class here before. All of my science equipment is mostly in boxes because they don’t really have a cabinet to put stuff in.”

It is also notable that the construction has been going on for longer than initially planned.

“It was supposed to be done at the beginning of this school year,” Guthrie said. “They discovered in the 200 building; there was some additional structural damage they were not aware of until they started dismantling it… my understanding is they found a bunch of termite damage that prolonged the construction efforts.”

However, it seems even the delayed completion will happen at a good time.

“Initially, I thought it was going to be the entire year in this room, which was a little depressing… Hopefully, we’ll be doing second semester in that classroom,” Guthrie said.

But school life in a construction zone isn’t easy.

“It’s much more difficult to get around campus. But that’s the nature of construction. The areas have to be closed off for safety reasons, and it means more students have to be clustered together in narrower spaces because they’re all going on the same path. That slows things down, and it makes things like bathroom breaks and passing periods more difficult,” Guthrie said.

“It has affected me with stuff like taking routes to classes that are a little longer,” Senior Sophie Compton said. “Also, last year the construction had us in bungalows instead of actual’s definitely different.”

But despite the hardships and setbacks the school went through with this project, it’s essential to recognize that it’s all part of the process.

“I can’t imagine what a headache it is to try and move people around and figure out where they’re going to go,” Guthrie said. “When every classroom is very nearly at capacity, it’s hard to shut them down and figure out where you’re gonna move people. I can’t say anything bad about it, and I think they’ve done a good job overall.”

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