Montebello District Targets Four Schools for Renovation

Four deteriorating schools have been targeted for face lifts and a new elementary school may be constructed to ease overcrowding in the Montebello Unified School District.

The remodeling at Bell Gardens High School and at Greenwood, Eastmont and Bella Vista elementary schools will be financed by an estimated $3 million the district will receive from the state, said Stephen Phillips, business manager for the district.

The four sites have the oldest buildings in the district, averaging more than 30 years old, a criterion for qualifying for the state funds.

Phillips said the district has hired architects to study the sites and is conducting a survey to determine what improvements will be needed, including cooling, lighting, painting, and window, door and work area replacements.

In addition to the reconstruction, the district expects to build a new elementary school in the Bell Gardens area within three years if it receives $8 million it has requested for the project, Phillips said. The district will find out this summer if it will get that allocation.

The new school would ease overcrowding in the district, where enrollment has hit a record high of 29,736. That is expected to grow by 3,000 students in five years. The board is now considering leasing portable buildings and going to double sessions or to more year-round school programs to cope with overcrowding.

The Bell Gardens area has 1,272 elementary students. Enrollment there is expected to reach 1,320 students in the fall.

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