Schools get new looks

Molly Shore

While students are enjoying their summer break, there is still plenty

of activity on Burbank Unified School District campuses while

construction and modernization work continues.


Summer is the best time to complete the work, because some

construction can adversely affect educational programs, said Ali

Kiafar, chief facilities and development superintendent for the



When the school year begins in September, John Muir Middle School

students will file into refurbished classrooms and eat lunch in a

modernized cafeteria.

“Muir really needed modernization,” Kiafar said. “The work was not

piecemeal or merely cosmetic. They are really major upgrades and

replacement, as well as modernization.”

In a completed wing, air conditioning is in all classrooms, new

light fixtures have been installed, new flooring has been put in and


the rooms have been upgraded for computer access, he said.

Muir’s construction is costing $13 million, and was financed by

local and state bonds, Kiafar said.

At John Burroughs High School, Phase II construction includes a

total rehabilitation of the school’s main building fronting Clark

Avenue, as well as modernization of the Brian W. Hurst Gymnasium.

Kiafar said the old 300 Hall will soon be demolished to make room

for construction of the school’s new quad. Upgrades on the auditorium


and Industrial Arts building will soon begin, he said.

At Burbank High School, construction is underway on a new

gymnasium and swimming pool, and work is expected to begin soon on

the school’s auditorium and new parking structure, Kiafar said.

Concrete playgrounds at Jefferson and McKinley elementary schools

will be replaced with grass. PTA Council President Sonia Arce, whose

child attends Jefferson, is enthusiastic about the project.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Arce said. “Having a greenbelt promotes

more oxygen.”

Students at Washington, McKinley, Providencia and Disney

elementary schools are getting new playground equipment, which is

being paid for with a $240,000 Community Development block grant from

the city.