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Point Loma High holds Golden Beam ceremony

Lee Dulgeroff (chief facilities planning and construction officer), Ila Komasa (Point Loma High School ASB president and a senior), principal Hans Becker and Michael McQuary (a San Diego Unified Board of Education trustee) commemorate a construction milestone for the new, three-story 800 Building; as the final beam — painted gold in support of PLHS colors (maroon and gold) — is lowered into place.
(Savanah Duffy)

In celebration of the new, three-story 800 Building under construction (and additional revamped facilities at Point Loma High School on Chatsworth Boulevard), a ceremony was held the morning of Monday, Feb. 24 to hoist a golden beam — adorned with 50-60 signatures from past, present and future PLHS students — into place atop the building.

The PLHS Whole Site Modernization project was set in motion in 2014, funded by Proposition S and Z. Now, well into Phase II, the project’s estimated end-date for overall construction is August 2021, according to San Diego Unified School District’s School Facilities Projects online page.

Point Loma High School students go about their day, walking past what will soon be a completed three-story 800 Building.
(Savanah Duffy)

“This is an exciting moment for Point Loma and a big turning point in the history of the school,” proclaimed principal Hans Becker during his speech prior to the beam placement.

PLHS opened in 1925 and is the third oldest high school in the San Diego Unified School District. It followed La Jolla High, which opened in 1922, and San Diego High, which opened in 1882 and was called Russ High until 1907.

Painted gold in support of PLHS colors (maroon and gold), the beam was the final piece that needed to be placed so the Balfour Beatty construction crew could move forward in the building process. It was signed on Feb. 19 by representatives from all nine elementary and middle schools in the Point Loma Cluster, including Correia Middle School and Cabrillo Elementary School, and even a PLHS alum from the graduating Class of 1969 made a last-minute signature on the morning of the ceremony.

A group of Point Loma High School freshmen — along with Dr. Mike McQuary (right), a San Diego Unified Board of Education trustee — pose in front of the up-and-coming 800 Building they will get to enjoy in their future years at PLHS.
(Savanah Duffy)

The demolition of the old two-story 800 Building began on the first day of school, after being gutted and prepped during the summer, Becker noted.

Now in Phase II (there are three phases total), he estimates that by January 2021 the new-and-improved 800 and 200 Buildings will be online for students’ use (not including landscaping).

The 800 Building’s first floor will house the library and media center, while the top two floors will be used for classrooms and a science lab. Located outside the 800 Building will be an outdoor classroom amphitheater, with a green space and outdoor seating to be used as a flexible space.

“I’m most excited for the students (1,930 in 2018) to have access to state-of-the-art facilities, which they deserve,” Becker told Point Loma-OB Monthly. “It will provide 21st century learning experiences for our future and current students, and be a building that’s not only beautiful, but a building that will be around for a long time ... sustainable.”

The main components of the Prop S-funded technology include an interactive whiteboard, audio/visual cabinet, a teacher’s presentation station, a wireless voice amplification system, an advanced model document camera and a DVD player.

The Balfour Beatty construction crew poses with their hard work in the background.
(Savanah Duffy)

Additional improvements to the campus include a more secure entrance to the school, accessible by Chatsworth Boulevard, that Becker said “will be not only functional, but beautiful.” Due to the construction work on campus, the school brought in 14 temporary classrooms and set up a temporary library.

Following the construction of Buildings 200 and 800, the crew will begin Building 300 and make upgrades to the athletic facilities that include: the addition of visitor side bleachers; increasing the green space; new concession stands, ticket booths and restroom facilities; and an elevator with ADA-access.

According to Becker, parents and community had opportunities to provide feedback to the whole site project in 2014, when it was just getting started. He said the only controversial aspect was the necessary removal of five Torrey Pine trees at the front of the school.

“Nobody likes cutting down trees — especially big, beautiful Torrey Pines,” he acknowledged, “but unfortunately, it had to be done for this (project) to happen.”

However, Becker assured Point Loma-OB Monthly that not only will five new Torrey Pines replace the former ones at the front of the school, but much of the wood from the original pines will be memorialized in the form of art or exhibits in the new building.

— Alums or community members who want to donate to Point Loma High may do so by contacting the PLHS Pointer Association, or Principal Becker at hbecker@sandi.net

— For more on the PLHS Facility Projects, visit bit.ly/plhsfacilityprojects


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