EAST WHITTIER – The East Whittier City School District Board of Education has approved the first round of school modernization projects under the $70 million Measure R facilities bond, passed by voters in November 2016.

The board’s approval of the projects during its April 24 and May 8 meetings allocates nearly $4.5 million to projects that include fencing, roofing, flooring, painting and asphalt upgrades at eight East Whittier City schools. While Measure R is reserved for projects that modernize school infrastructure and safety, the $24 million Measure Z, also passed by voters in November, is dedicated to upgrading classroom technology and technology infrastructure, such as improving wireless accessibility. The Board will consider additional projects under Measure Z over the next several months.

“Measures R and Z provide critical funding sources for us to ensure students have access to clean, safe, modern state-of-the-art facilities for years to come,” EWCSD Superintendent Mary Branca said. “Maintaining high-quality learning environments is central to our mission of offering a robust academic program that prepares our children for their futures.”

Four East Whittier City elementary schools – Laurel, Mulberry, Orchard Dale and La Colima – will receive new roofing and fencing; flooring upgrades; asphalt and concrete replacement; and new paint for the schools’ lunch shelters, covered walkways and storage bins.

Hillview Middle School, along with Evergreen, Ocean View and Scott Avenue Elementary schools, will also have their lunch shelters painted.

The work will kick off on June 12, with plans for the projects to be completed before the start of the 2017-18 school year.

The District prioritized projects for this summer according to the most pressing facilities needs, in addition to those that did not require an extensive state approval process or architectural planning. The District’s architects are currently in the early stages of the design process for more complex projects slated for next summer, including energy efficiency and technology infrastructure upgrades.

“It was important to us to begin moving forward immediately with projects that allow us to address the needs of our schools, many of which were built in the 1950s,” said Board of Education President Paul Gardiner. “I am proud and thankful to be part of a community that puts such a high value on our students and the schools that serve them every day.”