New school complex near completionBack in February visualizing the scope of what was taking place on four acres of land between East 18th, Sonora and Tulare streets and Truxtun Avenue in East Bakersfield was not easy. Huge earth-moving machines pushed, lifted, dropped and smoothed tons of dirt - clearing debris, filling holes and leveling land. The final jigsaw piece to an important education puzzle was taking form.
Today, passers by can see what the nearly completed puzzle looks like. Eleven new, brightly painted classrooms, restroom, administration and multi-purpose buildings, a track and recreation area. When its doors open to start the traditional school year on August 26, students will be entering Sandstone East, an educational complex unlike any other in California.
“It will present expanded learning opportunities for students in a court-ordered program serving high risk youth,” said Jeanne Hughes, Kern County Superintendent of Schools' (KCSOS) alternative education director. “The multi-purpose room alone will offer a library, place to eat school meals and space we never had before for performing arts activities such as oral presentations and drama. For the first time, students will have a track and area for outdoor and after school activities.”
Sandstone East is just one of five components on the site known currently by the working title “Sandstone Education Center.” Already occupying other spots on the four acres of land are Community Learning Center Tech -- a charter school featuring technology training for expelled and probation referred students; a community school for kindergarten-through-middle school expelled students; Career Plus Center featuring work experience opportunities; and a teen outreach and mental health education program for pregnant and parenting teens and their children. All are operated by KCSOS Division of Student Services Administrator Ken Taylor.
“The beauty of this campus is that it will allow all of the students we serve to share common facilities -- the multi-purpose building, restroom and track/recreation area and administration building,” Hughes said.
Planning and construction of the multi-faceted complex came under the direction of KCSOS Assistant Superintendent of Support Services Tom Valos and Facilities and Property Management Services Director Jenny Hannah.
Construction at the site, which was formerly owned by Bakersfield Sandstone Brick Company, began in April. It should be ready for staff to take their places by August 5. Everything should be fully operational, when classes begin on August 26.
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