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Tower Building almost finished

Renovations scheduled to be completed by December
Art+by+Charlotte+Liu
Art by Charlotte Liu

The rumble of construction machinery still fills the air near the Tower Building which began renovations in mid-2022

These renovations have led to significant changes on campus, from classroom relocations to the removal of social gathering spaces.

But Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson said the construction and the resulting noise and clutter around campus should end in early December.

In the meantime, Berkson said the construction is a necessary part of upgrading facilities.

“The whole Tower Building is undergoing renovation, with the first part just gutting it to give it a new edge with all new electrical, and now the walls have been put up and painted, so furniture started coming in last week,” Berkson said. “There’s still work on the roof, and eventually, there will be a big patio on the backside which will be really nice.”

Berkson said the renovation will bring the Tower Building up to modern standards, including ADA accessibility infrastructure upgrades.

Funded by a $20 million bond approved by the Board of Education in 2019 as part of the Measure Z Strong Schools Bond, the project is the first large-scale upgrade of the Tower Building since its construction in 1918.

Berkson said this upgrade is also related to the other construction projects on campus.

“We have the running of lines underground, which is why we had that electrical issue a few weeks ago, to connect all the different fire panels, and there are some water pipes underground that relate to that,” Berkson said. “But there’s also the whole school which is just getting upgraded.”

Berkson also said Cal Pacific Construction is renovating the century-old Tower Building.

Berkson said after the Tower Building is completed, renovations on the Student Center may begin.

Economics teacher Grant Blackburn said he is unhappy with the disruptions the campus construction has caused.

“The very first day, the construction company messed it up and cut the power, so all of a sudden, all of our meetings were disrupted.” Blackburn said. “Furthermore, there were porta potties on campus.”

However, Senior Morris Tang said the construction around campus hasn’t affected his daily routine except when wifi in the science building went down.

“That day, I had to do my astrophysics work in the library during class, and I’m sure many others can relate to that as well,” Tang said.

For senior Jada King, though, not that much has changed.

“They’ve been doing construction on (The Tower) Building since I was a sophomore, so my routine is kind of built around it already,” King said. “It didn’t feel great when they gated up the quad, but otherwise the construction doesn’t affect me that much.”

Tang agrees.

“Over time, you just get used to the new class locations and find new social spots,” Tang said. “The ongoing construction hopefully doesn’t affect daily routines, but I feel the construction has changed the school’s atmosphere.”

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