Representing IUSD at the opening of the new La Tijera K-8 School (L to R):Glenston Thompson, IUSD chief operating officer; Trina Williams, vice president of Inglewood School Board (ISB); Dr Johnny J. Young, president of ISB; Carol Raines-Brown, school board member; Gary McHenry, superintendent of IUSD; and Arnold Butler, school board member.
The newest school in the Inglewood Unified School District system, La Tijera K-8 School, opened welcoming enthusiastic students, parents and the community
When the morning bell sounded at the new La Tijera K-8 School in Inglewood on January 4, the first day of school following the holiday break, hundreds of students eagerly awaited the opportunity to be the first to enter the new structure which was promised by the Inglewood Unified School District Board to be the most technologically-advanced school in the state, and whose planning began over eight years ago.
As early as 7:00 am, parents began to arrive at the new school with their children at the well planned, drop-off point. They were greeted by school administrative and security staff, as well as a large group of community volunteers, who were present to direct the flow of traffic and ensure that the children were delivered swiftly and safely.
Comments from the parents were all very positive and mixed with a range from “awesome” and “magnificent,” to “it’s about time” and “the new school is beautiful.” Several of the parents’ remarks are captured below:
Monica Cory said, “The school is magnificent and I am pleased that the school board delivered on their promise.”
Gil Day said, “The school is beautiful and it is about time.”
Veronica Gabourel could not contain her pleasure and admiration of the new school. “This is awesome! I feel like royalty! I feel wonderful!” She said.
“I love it. This school is second-to-none and will surely set the benchmark for new schools in Southern California,” Joe Brown said. “I applaud the Inglewood Unified School District Board (IUSD) for taking care of business.”
“We love it!” added Annette Thomas. “It took long enough but I am glad it is finally here.”
Features of the new school live up to its promise with a state-of-the-art library; a multi-purpose room, with an indoor stage as well as an outdoor amphitheater; state-of the-art- kitchen facilities; fully-equipped science laboratories; classrooms with the most advanced electronic teaching equipment in the history of the development of any public school system; and a campus-wide wireless internet system.
After the classes were underway, IUSD Board Members, representatives from the architectural and construction team – Turner-Bakewell, Bernards, CPI, and D & D Architects, as well as Principal Steve Donahue, conducted their 61st construction meeting to finalize the last construction requirement to bring the project to 100% completion.
While the school is in an operational status and is safe for the students to attend classes as usual, there are numerous aesthetic tasks that must be completed before items on the final punch list are completed. Electronic signage, as well as general signage for the school has yet to be installed, final landscaping has not yet been completed, the play area needs some last-minute adjustment, and the final library layout has yet to be completed. The fiber optic connection to the District was completed just a few days before the opening day of school.
Principal Donohue said, “Today is beyond exciting for me to be the principal of a brand new school. To see the look on everyone’s face – the parents and the students – it brings a new meaning to the first day of school.”
“This project is long overdue and I am delighted that we have finally delivered the first-class learning environment that the board envisioned for our children,” said board member Carol Raines-Brown. “I appreciate the outstanding performance by Bakewell-Turner and other members of the construction team for meeting our construction objectives, and being sensitive to the needs and requests of the community.”
Board member, vice president Trina Williams said, “It is a relief, and shows what can be done as a team with the best people.” Bakewell-Turner assembled the best people to get the job done and it shows that the kids and the community are the top priority. We have not paid enough for the quality of work that has been delivered.”
Board president Johnny J. Young, Ph.D. said, “I am very excited and extremely pleased with the completion of this new school, and the community involvement, and participation that brought this project to completion. I am sure that the parents and students of this Ladera Community will be very proud.”
Board Member Arnold C. Butler also expressed his elation about the first day at LaTijera School. “This is a very proud moment for the school board, the students, the parents, and the community,” he said. “This school is a beacon for the Inglewood Unified School District and the rest of the City of Inglewood. It is truly a crown jewel for Inglewood that demonstrates our commitment to the children and the community.”
IUSD Superintendent, Gary McHenry was also present to share the excitement of the near-completion of another Measure-K Project. “I am certainly pleased that we were able to have students in the new classrooms. Our goal was to open the school in the second semester this year and we achieved our objective.”
While the classrooms are filling up, and the new cafeteria and hallways are bustling with proud students, the district is still seeking new enrollees whose parents are interested in exposing their children to a state-of-the-art learning environment. Enrollment information may be obtained by calling 310/680-5170 or visiting the campus during school hours at the intersection of La Cienega and Fairview Boulevards, in Inglewood.
Dr. Young added, “We certainly hope that we will be able to attract many of the eligible students whose parents have placed them in charter schools. The education they may expect to receive at La Tijera K-8 School is second to none.”