Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 13, 2019

Bringing back shop class

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

#1 daughter is participating in some sort of activity in which she helps incoming sixth graders to Encinal’s Junior Jets to understand the ins and outs of being a student on a high school campus.  Even though I am near the Encinal campus almost every day I don’t actually go past it until today.

I have to say, I’m a little concerned about the state of construction at Encinal and how it can be at all functioning for students who are starting NEXT WEEK.

Look I know everyone is super excited about how pretty the Historic Alameda High School looks, but whole wings at Encinal are missing an entire wall.  An entire wall.

I mean, it’s not clear if the intent was to have students occupying a construction zone for their 2019-2020 school year, but it looks like it will be their reality for the very near future.  #1 daughter mentioned that she’s getting a tour tomorrow, but at this point they have to go through the office in order to get from one side of the school to the other.  I can’t imagine that is a long term plan to have thousands of students cut through the office during passing periods.

I’m not one to usually be too down on the whole Alameda High gets better stuff than Encinal High, but after seeing the fanfare and the timely completion of Alameda High for the 2019 – 2020 school year and Encinal High as a construction zone I’m feeling a little miffed.



  1. Oh my gosh … two completely different projects … as you know HAHS was completely closed and fenced off for a few years before the construction started.
    This is not a AHS gets more than Encinal issue.
    We knew this was going to be a year of construction on the campus, even with starting as early as possible in June.

    As far as safety goes, I would encourage people to talk directly to the Principal, Dan Hurst, to understand the safety plan and safe routes, especially new Jr Jet parents.
    If passing times are not long enough, encourage your student to take their time to be safe and make their way to class.
    If it takes them longer than the passing bell, so be it .. safety first.
    If it is an issue and they do not adjust the passing time, I will be encouraging my daughter to advocate for herself to request a longer time, and you can bet I will be asking for it too.

    Comment by Ron Mooney — August 13, 2019 @ 6:28 am

  2. I thought this was actually about shop class. Shop & sports eligibility were sometimes the only reason I showed up…

    Comment by dave — August 13, 2019 @ 7:05 am

  3. I’m also against Trump, but this architectural expression is taking it too far

    Comment by MP — August 13, 2019 @ 7:12 am

  4. Well I guess they could have Encinal School for a year and let Encinal students use the portions of the old Alameda High School that is no longer being used.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — August 13, 2019 @ 7:50 am

    • could have closed Encinal

      Comment by Mike McMahon — August 13, 2019 @ 7:53 am

      • Mike, I think that’s the better plan — using the old Alameda High school while Encinal is under construction! The construction noise coming from the renovation is pretty loud — I can’t imagine them having to put up with it during class.

        Comment by Karen Bey — August 13, 2019 @ 1:45 pm

  5. A classic example of West End v East End bias authorized by the School Board. Beautiful and spacious AHS v. construction zone EHS on the first day of school. This is not the first time, either. EHS had a significant makeover around 2004 DURING the school year. This allows AUSD to save money, but may do more than inconvenience students, with industrial waste and dust being breathed by students and staff and tracked into all classrooms. What if they had to evacuate the school? How about noise levels from construction in classrooms while teachers are attempting to teach? Undoubtedly, assurances will be given, but parents, students, and staff will soon figure out it’s BS. I recommend a blue hard hat and dust mask for every student.

    Comment by Concerned — August 13, 2019 @ 7:57 am

    • I call BS. What other solutions are more tenable? As I pointed out, using portions of the old Alameda High School for a year and closing Encinal is one alternative. Haight School (newly named Love Elementary) was closed for one seismic upgrade and the students were bused to Woodstock (now ACLC/Nea). The size of project determines construction windows. Easy to complain and play the East End/West End card then to provide alternative solutions.

      Comment by Mike McMahon — August 13, 2019 @ 11:10 am

  6. Good morning all,

    The EHS project is quite large – it involves constructing a brand new two-story classroom, as well as completely gutting and rebuilding the 200 wing (hence the current lack of walls), re-landscaping the entire front area, and modernizing various infrastructure (including the fire detection and alarm system, the PA system, and other critical components). This project is expected to take at least two years, so alas it could not have been completed in the course of one summer. In the meantime, I know that Principal Hurst has been working closely with both the construction company and district staff on developing and implementing safety plans.

    Working and learning on a campus where construction is happening can indeed be difficult, but as several people have noted here, AHS staff and students also endured several years’ worth of demolition and construction before HAHS could be re-opened.

    As for fanfare – I am already looking forward to the ribbon cutting ceremony at EHS in several years. The HAHS ceremony was quite uplifting, and we learned some good lessons on how to make these events even better along the way!

    Comment by Susan Davis(AUSD community affairs) — August 13, 2019 @ 8:11 am

  7. This was discussed at the school board something like 6 times in the past 3 years. Essentially every HS classroom at Encinal is getting renovated or replaced. ( It’s almost as costly a project as AHS, at least in terms of local bond money (I saw that AHS got some state seismic fix-up money too).

    With a project that size, the choices are (1) close the site for a year (meaning students from the point would have to get themselves back and forth to AHS every day), (2) resign yourself to teaching around the construction for a year, (3) do fewer improvements, or (4) do the work only in the summer and have the project take years and years. The board chose (2), which I can’t argue with, especially because every other option would have left them open to similar claims of unfairness.

    AHS was obviously unusual in that you generally don’t have a whole other high school building right next to the one you’re renovating. It’s not a great comparison.

    Comment by Teddy — August 13, 2019 @ 9:12 am

  8. As has happened in the past, the issue as I see it is not so much East vs West, but the management and the politicians talking and planning with little incorporation of the parent/student parts of the equation. Maybe notices were sent or the PTA was notified, I don’t know, but it is clear that planning for major overhauls of learning spaces should involve the users and the outreach missed people like Lauren and her daughter, who are paying attention. How much less did any outreach reach the parents that typically aren’t paying attention on a regular basis? When the District goes to the voters for more money, it needs “happy camper” voters, and leaving people in the dark about timetables, safety plans, etc. doesn’t quite result in that.

    Comment by Kate Quiok — August 13, 2019 @ 3:04 pm

  9. And in other AUSD news, at last night’s School Board meeting, a review of survey results for placing another parcel tax on March 2020 ballot was done. The parcel tax being considered would direct between $7.6M and $11.0M (18 cents/sq ft or 28 cents/sq ft) towards employees salaries. This parcel tax may consider not having a sunset clause. The next few months will be consensus building to arrive at a final decision in December of whether to place a measure on the March 2020 ballot.

    Click to access Mar2020ParcelTaxProposal.pdf

    Comment by Mike McMahon — August 14, 2019 @ 7:30 am

    • Thanks for this info! I would vote for another parcel tax, but I worry that some might hear “no sunset” and say “no way!” in part because we already have an eternal tax for Alameda Hospital. (Apples and oranges, I know, but that’s how I fear it might play out…)

      Comment by Kristen — August 14, 2019 @ 9:49 am

  10. I live across the street from Encinal High School and I hear the pile driver starting every morning at 7am. It makes me very happy to have gone to this school over fifty years ago, and thier finally doing something real good for us West Enders. I will follow this project every day until its done and be thrilled. so quit your whining. please.

    Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — August 14, 2019 @ 3:54 pm

  11. I hear the pile driver every morning too, and I’m several blocks away. I can only imagine the impact it will have on the students. If there is a way to minimize the impact of construction during the school year by relocating Encinal students to the old Alameda High building while Encinal is under construction that would be great. If that’s not possible, seems like concerned parents want and needs to understand the safety plan for their kids.

    Comment by Karen Bey — August 14, 2019 @ 7:18 pm

  12. I think they are trying to complete pile driving before school starts.

    Comment by trumpisnotmypresident — August 15, 2019 @ 9:26 am

    • the pile driver is gone, this afternoon.

      Comment by trumpisaracist — August 16, 2019 @ 4:36 pm

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