Campus construction: One school year later

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As the class of 2021 enters MVHS as freshman, the construction around campus seems like just another aspect of a new school. Yet for returning students, most can remember a time when the basketball courts were free of portables and there was no bridge between the C and D buildings. The construction at MVHS has affected the lives of students, teachers, administrators and custodial staff. The changes aim to provide the campus with newer architecture and a more open and easily accessible campus. With summer construction wrapping up, the additions will affect the many different people on the MVHS campus.

The project included connecting the B and D buildings with a bridge, constructing four new classrooms in the B building and landscaping the front lawn along McClellan Road. For custodian Tom Orsua, he can recall scrambling to get ready for the school year while this construction was ongoing.

“We weren’t allowed to drive around building B, it was blocked off at [building]D,” janitor Thomas Orsua said. “Access was limited upstairs and downstairs, basically all stairways were blocked so everything had to go around that. With the amount of work that they were doing, we had to just wait till they were done.”

Orsua and the custodial staff have experienced inconveniences during the summer especially as they attempted to complete their usual summer tasks. Facilities Manager Chris Kenney, who is involved in the overseeing of the construction, acknowledges that the projects gave custodians limited access to the campus.

“It’s been a big impact because they shut the power down for building B,” Kenney said. “We weren’t able to get into the building until they turned everything back on. You have to move out all the classrooms.”

Kenney attends all the construction meetings as part of his job on staff, and works with the developers and principal to coordinate all plans from start to finish. These meetings also devised projects that are set to take place the start of the second semester.

“The gym building will be remodelled –the second floor– and the gym floor will be replaced,” Kenney said. “Then we’ll be remodelling the second floor and building a dance studio up top and also a new Leadership classroom up on the second floor.”

According to Kenney, the project also includes building a new front entrance to the gym and building a stage in the rally court. And while the MVHS community will continue to experience some inconveniences, the general consensus among staff is that overall finished project will be beneficial.

“A lot of people, when they come visit the site, really don’t know where anything is at, so now they’ll walk up and it’ll be a much broader area to look and see oh look at that open area with the tents and the landscape,” Kenney said. “You can see the rally court, you can see the cafeteria and then you can see the gym with the dance front area they’re gonna do. So it’ll be nice, it’ll really look good.”

Leadership advisor Jenna Smith sees the developments as a stepping stone to the future coming. She was housed in the portables for the past four years and is ready to move into more permanent classroom.

“I’ve been aware that the portables were a temporary place for us and we’ve made it our home and it’s been fantastic and I’m excited to see the new digs, the new house we’re gonna be in.” Smith said. “So it wasn’t like a shock at all. It’s been known.”

Although most see the construction as a nuisance to the teachers and staff, Smith recalls instances when the construction brought teachers and staff members together.

“Everybody rallied together, and other teachers that were already set in their classrooms because there wasn’t construction […] came and asked if they could help.” Smith said.

She acknowledges that there were some disruptions for students in classrooms near the construction site, but Smith also believes both the administration and construction workers kept the distractions to a minimum.

While the bridge is among the few projects on the brink of completion, the construction will begin again in February 2018. Although the school has undergone a lot of changes in recent years, according to Orsua, who graduated from Sunnyvale High School in 1968, they have all been made in order to improve the school’s appearance.

“The school I graduated from [looked]like an industrial site, [it]didn’t look like a school […] the buildings themselves were pretty straight, nothing fancy about them,” Orsua said. “While here, you got some the architecture, the arches, the all brick work. It’s just a nicer looking school.”

Additional Reporting by Aditya Dash, Ria Kolli, Gauri Kaushik, Maggie Mccormick and Chelsea Wong

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Om is currently a junior and this is his second year on staff. Aside from being a sports editor, Om enjoys snowboarding and wrestling when his life isn't being consumed by El Estoque.