Graphic by Kathy Tang. Map Courtesy of bvh.sweetwaterschools.org
By Tanner Hamilton
As Bonita Vista High School celebrates its 50th year anniversary as a school, many of its aging facilities are falling into disrepair. According to the California Department of Education, a school must have a clean and respectable environment in order to facilitate students’ learning. Even with the staff working to fix utility and maintenance problems, many areas on campus still suffer from poor conditions.
“I’m not expecting a new 2015 school. No one expects that at all, but at least renovation,” custodian Mario Jimenez said.
Two out of the seven sets of water fountains are in disrepair, and numerous restroom stalls are repeatedly found to be unhygienic from student abuse. Many places are damaged in classrooms and physical education locker rooms. Although mistreatment is a contributing factor, these areas are wearing down from age and are in need of renovation.
“There are lockers that are not functioning, that aren’t usable anymore. The condition of it is ready for modernization,” Assistant Principal Fernando Delgado said.
The age of the campus also affects the overall quality of classrooms with damage to the floors and the walls. Custodians wax floors and clean walls every break, but they continue to be a problem.
“The walls need to be repainted. We’ve been waiting for that a long time. There are some holes in walls we need to fill… We’re doing the best we can around here,” Jimenez said.
During fall break, workers resurfaced the cement between the 700 and 800 buildings, but they did not properly account for water drainage. When the staff returned, they discovered that some of the rooms near the construction site were flooded with rain water. Foreign language teacher Patrick Beaulieu came back into his classroom to find that half of his carpet floor was soaked.
“When I walked into the room, I noticed I was walking on water. Any papers on the floor absorbed the water and were destroyed,” Beaulieu said.
The flooding issue was fixed quickly, but other minor repairs have to wait. In order to get tools or parts for repairs, the staff has to submit a work order to the Sweetwater Union High School District. Jimenez believes that this process can be inefficient as it takes weeks, or even months, to get the parts that they need.
“There are 28 schools [in the district], so it’s hard to get everybody down here to work on the problem. Eventually they get down here, but they’re too slow on doing it,” Jimenez said.
However, this issue might be solved because more funding may be allocated to improve Bonita Vista High School. Delgado went to the latest public meeting between the community and the Sweetwater Union High School District that focused on prioritizing places on campus that require modernization. Based on what he saw at the meeting, Delgado believes Bonita Vista High School’s budget will improve.
“The district is doing it right by placing us in the top three schools that are next for attention in regards to improving facilities,” Delgado said.
The 50-year-old campus has numerous areas in need of repair, and the staff is working to improve it. For example, last year, a ruptured bathroom pipe posed serious health risks, but was assessed within a day by the district and quickly fixed.
“I know that the functioning parts of this campus are 50 years old. It’s an aging facility,” Delgado said. “But we are doing the best we can based on what we are working with.”