The writing's in the walls

School officials celebrated a milestone in construction at Costa Mesa High this week.

Crews had placed the final structural beam in place for a middle school enclave building, and Friday Newport-Mesa Unified School District board members and administrators penned messages and their names on a portion of the metal skeleton.

The project, a high-tech new home for middle schoolers on Mesa's campus, is expected to be complete in September 2014, according to the district.

"It's going to give the middle school a further sense of identity," Costa Mesa Middle School Principal Aaron Peralta said. "It's huge because these are kids who are making the transition from their elementary schools, where they had a sense of identity. Now coming over here, they're going to have a brand new state of the art building to draw an identity, too."

Construction is progressing on time and is within its more-than-$15-million budget, according to the district.

"This is going to make major improvements for our Costa Mesa High School zone," school board member Katrina Foley said. "It's been a long time coming for sure."

She added "Go Mustangs" to one beam before signing it.

The project is funded out of $282 million of bonds that voters approved under Measure F in November 2005.

Deputy Supt. Paul Reed, who oversees facilities projects, said he always writes the same thing when he signs a beam.

He scrawled "Tempus edax, homo edacior," a quote from French writer Victor Hugo.

"It's basically, time is blind and man doesn't understand," he said. "It basically means you build something bigger than yourself, you build something bigger than the moment, you build something bigger than for one person or even one generation. To me it applies to schools because this is going to affect a lot of kids."

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