Modernizing Panther Country
Library and Main Office
Students and guests are now welcomed through our new entrance. The entry way is next to the 2-story building, which houses a front check-in area, our principal, vice principals, counselors, registrar, student accounts, site safety and office staff on the ground floor. The second story features the library, computer labs, career and college center and the parent-community outreach area.
We're getting closer to the finish line for Antioch High's new cafeteria. Along with the Aquatic Center, this is one of the last big projects of the Measure B renovations. This L-shaped building takes the spot of the original office area and will include a larger quad area, and is expected to open in April. Excited for our students to have a nice place to eat and hang out.
It’s a bittersweet sight that Panther Country has been waiting to see for decades.
Bulldozers were hard at work in July knocking down the well-worn bleachers at Eells Stadium, marking one of the first visible signs of the $56.5 million project to renovate aging Antioch High.
"People in the community are no longer asking when it is going to start, but now they want to know what's coming next," Principal Louie Rocha said.
On the other end of the campus, abatement work is under way to prepare the 59-year-old school's cafeteria for demolition. That building, which students have crammed in for decades, was completely razed in early August.
"It's right on schedule," said Tim Forrester, Antioch Unified's associate superintendent of business services.
Added Rocha: "It will be a real shot in the arm, and I think the community feels that our students deserve to have equitable facilities to others in the region."
When work is completed by about 2016, Antioch High will have reconfigured classrooms with upgraded technology, lighting and furniture better suited for student learning groups.
Other features are a new library and media area, including a college and career center; a larger cafeteria that allows more students to eat comfortably; and renovated sports facilities, including a new pool and locker rooms.
The goal is also to preserve some of the school's history, including the large trees, brick facade and plaques along with corridors from the past graduating classes.
The dominoes-like construction project is a delicate operation in that it requires significant coordination among contractors to not interfere with classes in session.
Rocha said that will be the "messy part," and that flexibility will be needed from the students, parents and staff.
So far, so good, according to the firm managing the day-to-day work.
"It's a well thought-out plan," said Rich Dunlap, a project manager with RGM and Associates construction. The contractors on site have already been putting up barriers separating where the kids have had summer sports workout sessions, Dunlap said.
In 2012, voters in the older part of the city approved paying an additional $50 in property tax each year for the renovation. More than 61 percent of voters supported the $56.5 million school bond measure.
If state funding becomes available, additional features from the original wish list could bring the total cost up to $80 million.
A unique aspect of the rebuild is that the suburban campus will become a learning tool for students. The engineering, environmental studies, media technology and public service academies have had a hand in some of the design, construction and public outreach for the renovation.
(Note: This is an edited version of a Times story by Paul Burgarino. The original story can be found at http://www.contracostatimes.com/News/ci_26174371/After-years-of-waiting-Antioch-High-makeover-starts-with-a-flurry)