$800,000 Voted to Renovate School in Bonita District
After weeks of uncertainty and delay, the Bonita Unified School District board last week approved by a 4-1 vote a plan to renovate a historic but dilapidated elementary school.
The board awarded a contract worth almost $800,000 to ACS Inc. of La Habra to begin work immediately on modernization of La Verne Heights Elementary, built in 1937. The district estimates that the total project could cost from $1.1 million to more than $1.4 million.
The renovation will include installation of air conditioning as well as replacement of some water lines and installation of new carpeting, cabinetwork, ceiling tiles and doors. The plan also calls for expanding the cramped office space and building a portable restroom facility.
Only Robert Green voted against the plan, saying it only spruced up a campus that needed more fundamental renovation. He also lobbied for a permanent cafeteria with restrooms to replace temporary buildings now being used for those purposes.
But Assistant Supt. Karen Willett persuaded other members that changing the project could push the completion date past the start of the next school year, and the district needed the classroom space.
The audience of more than 300 people at Ramona Elementary School applauded both viewpoints. Many still had misgivings that the renovation would accomplish too little and that not all safety concerns had been fully addressed, said Jolene Roselauf, head of the La Verne Heights PTA.
La Verne Heights students have attended the district’s unnamed new school in north La Verne since December, when the old school’s renovation was to begin. Ultimately, the district intends for the new school to serve families in the city’s growing northern section.