Sweetwater High School recently broke ground on its $46 million modernization project in a ceremony commemorating Phase I construction of Proposition O. Local officials including Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) Superintendent Jesus M. Gandara and National City Mayor Ron Morrison gathered with Sweetwater High Principal Wes Braddock to kick off the construction project.
The community came together in support and celebration of the project, as a vast majority of the parents, faculty, staff and community leaders in the audience were proud alumni. Attendees took some of the dirt home with them as a symbol of the change that is to come to the 89-year-old campus.
Guest speakers Gandara and Morrison spoke to the crowd about the significance of the project.
"The community, by a large percentage, said we are willing to tax ourselves because we want a continued and enhanced quality education for our children," Gandara said. "We are going to get rid of asphalt and plant grass. We are going to have classrooms that are built for teachers and students."
Morrison, a Sweetwater High alumnus, said, "This community has come together, yet again, to show their dedication to educating the future of National City. These facilities will foster a learning environment that will be a testament to the desires and aspirations of this community."
Sweetwater High's Marine Corps Jr. ROTC opened the ceremony with the presentation of colors, and student body president Larissa Garcia led the pledge of allegiance. Laura Charles and the Sweetwater High Choir performed the national anthem and alma mater, a song that was chanted by attending students and by the reminiscing alumni that filled the forefront of the campus. SUHSD Board President Jim Cartmill recognized the community's energy and excitement in his closing remarks.
A much needed three-story, 86,360-square-foot classroom, administration, health and counseling complex will be constructed at Sweetwater High School. The same complex will feature a wing dedicated to a contemporary library with the opposite wing housing a state-of-the-art theater complex. Sweetwater High is the largest project of the nine schools being renovated in Phase I of the $644 million construction program.
Proposition O is a school classroom safety and repair measure addressing the critical and urgent needs of the 32 campuses in the Sweetwater Union High School District. Proposition O will fund the repairs and improvements needed to ensure that the 43,000 middle and high school students and 27,000 adult learners attending our schools are in a safe, healthy and quality learning environment. Scopes of work include: upgrading classrooms, restrooms, science labs, libraries and technology, improving handicap accessibility, removing asbestos and lead paint, and upgrading fire and life safety systems. For more information and detail on scope of work per school visit www.buildingpropo.com.
[CAPTION=National City leaders gathered to celebrate the kickoff of Proposition O construction at Sweetwater High School. (Pictured from left to right: Vice Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, Councilwoman Rosalie Zarate, Superintendent Jesus M. Gandara, Mayor Ron Morrison, SUHSD Board Vice President Arlie Ricasa, SUHSD Board Member Pearl Quiñones, SUHSD Board President Jim Cartmill and Sweetwater High School Principal Wes Braddock. Photo courtesy Sweetwater High School]