FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 5, 2012 –
Riverbank Elementary was opened more than 50 years ago as a high school, later becoming Golden State Middle School and then an elementary campus.
During the 2011-2012 school year the 12-acre campus was home to third through eighth graders but after a 10-week, $8-million overhaul the campus reopened on August 22, greeting students’ kindergarten through eighth grade.
While minor work started in May while school was still in session, the majority of the work began in June when school was out, giving HMH Builders just 10 weeks to complete this transformation, intended to improve the environment and accommodate more kids.
According to a spokesperson for the builder:
Starting on the outside, the parking lot was redesigned with safety in mind, providing much needed space to drop students off, and separating the entrances for kindergarten through fifth grade from those for sixth through eighth grade. The walkway leading to the entrance was also redesigned and made ADA compliant with new landscaping and decorative fencing. The school even received a new marquee, complete with an LED sign that can be used for posting announcements. Other improvements to the outside of the campus including adding a new section of asphalt for recess and PE activities, which doubles as a way to improve the fire departments access to the campus.
On the interior, each of the 42 classrooms on the campus received a technology makeover. All are now equipped with smart boards that allow a teacher to project his or her computer screen or other video directly onto a whiteboard and then write over it or to show educational videos. A new fiber optic network and fire alarm system was installed across the campus along with a new intercom system to improve campus-wide communication, security and fire safety. Many rooms have new windows to let in more natural light, fresh paint, cabinets, tack boards and carpeting.
Additionally, some rooms were also completely remodeled such as what was once a dark building with no windows transforming into the campus’ kindergarten wing complete with three classrooms, smart boards, windows, and a separate play area with shade structure. A building that housed outdated gym equipment has been turned into five new classrooms for second graders. Two old locker rooms that were being used as storage areas are now places for learning. The girls’ locker room is now a fitness studio with climbing wall and will also be used for indoor sports and yoga. The boys’ locker room was gutted and renovated into two wet science labs.
“We are impressed and relieved by the ability of the HMH Team to complete this major renovation to Riverbank, both on time and on budget,” said Dr. Dayton Gilleland, Ed.D., Washington Unified School District’s Superintendent, in a press release from AugustineIdeas, for HMH Builders.. “The efficiency of this project, coupled with the hard work of teachers and district staff, has resulted in a beautiful school setting that stands ready to meet our students and families on the first day of school.”
In the coming months the campus will continue to see limited construction including a completely remodeled commercial kitchen to prepare school meals. During this construction, meals for students will be made at other district facilities and brought to the school for students.
“We were delighted to be chosen to work on this project with the Washington Unified School District,” said Tim Spence, project executive with HMH Builders, in a press release. “We worked closely with the Washington Unified School District and Stafford King Wiese Architects on every aspect of the project, finding ways to save money. The improvements that were made to Riverbank over the last 10 weeks will improve the learning environment for students, teachers, and staff for many years to come.”
Copyright News-Ledger 2012