May 1 2017

Rebuilding Piedmont High School

Students should determine the direction for the rebuilding of the High School.

by Cade Becker, Piedmont High School Senior –

The Piedmont Unified School District continues to receive feedback on their various plans to rebuild the Piedmont High School (PHS) campus using part of the $66 million funds provided by Bond Measure H1. On April 18th, I attended one of the New School Facilities Advisory meetings to see where the direction of the school was headed.

Architects and engineers hired for this rebuilding process came together and produced 3 potential plans with estimated total costs. Option 1 was to tear down and rebuild the theater, and to add in a new math, science and art 3 story building in the parking lot next to the gym. Option 2 was to tear down the theater and build the new 3 story building there, and afterwards tearing down the 10s building and adding the new theater there. Option 3 took on the idea of moving the gym. It throws the idea out to tear down the gym and build the new 3 story building in its place and move the gym to where the 10s building is now.

The overall majority of the meeting participants enjoyed Option 2 the best, however there was no set agreement on any option. Option 1 and 3 would compromise the view that the student body of PHS holds so dear, but Option 2 would create a 3 story building at the face of our campus looming over the rest. Most of the questions came from parents or other community members present.

After the controversial voter denial of Measure H, a plan to rebuild the theater, my assumption that the theater would be a sore subject was correct. There seemed to be many supporters for taking down the theater, but there were still others who did not deem it necessary.

As a member of the Piedmont High School Acting class, having performed in the PHS musical all four years in my high school career, participated in many other short plays and two Acapella reviews, I understand better than most that the theater is high priority. I am a strong advocate for the creation of the new theater. It is worn down, dangerous, not wheelchair accessible and more. Buildings can only be renovated so much before they need to be taken down completely, I believe the theater has reached this point. Option 2 is the best of the three because it solves the most issues within the school and creates a face that Piedmont High School lacks.

In an interview with Donna Meir, a parent who has children in the Piedmont schools, I was able to grasp an alternative view on the subject. Intending to continue her involvement with the process, she said, “This is a great process. These options sparked a dynamic conversation between community members, and I appreciate the discussion. It was a great thing to see the community so involved.” Fortunate to be a part of the conversation, I gave my opinions to her as well as others at my table.

 I believe that the direction of the High School should largely come from the student body. The students attending the High School should be more involved in the conversation than parents, or other community members because they are directly affected. The students present at this meeting gave the best opinions and ideas for the rebuilding of the school. This process needs to be more in their hands rather than the community itself.

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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