Fremont campus would be rebuilt under district plan

Fremont campus would be rebuilt under district plan

Juan Aguilar

LEVELING THE FIELD: The lopsided goal post is just one of the many problems of the existing Fremont athletic field. Plans for a new field will be made soon.

Momentum is growing for a plan to rebuild the whole Fremont campus.

It is unclear how much money the school district will try to raise for the project, but some people say it could be as much as $70 million.

“Rebuilding the facilities would be one of the most critical ways we can improve the image of the school,” said Athletic Director Paul Coover, who has watched Fremont teams struggle to field enough athletes to remain competitive.

The school board would first have to get voters to approve a bond measure to pay for the Fremont construction and other school projects in Oakland. If voters approve the plan, Fremont has been prioritized to be rebuilt first, according to Fremont Principal Daniel Hurst.

“It hasn’t been a guarantee that the school board will approve the [plan] to rebuild Fremont, but the school board has put it at the top of its list,” said Hurst, who estimated the cost would be $50 million to $70 million.

Indeed, district facilities officials are already working on finding professional architects to come up with a master plan for the project.

“The master plan focus will be on redeveloping the site for sustainability, reducing energy required, improving daylighting, using rainwater for irrigation, possibly including solar panels,” wrote Tadashi Nakadegawa, Oakland Unified School District facilities planning and management director, in an e-mail to the Green & Gold.

Construction would start no sooner than summer of 2013, according to Nakadegawa.

Many people feel Fremont desperately needs the modernization. For example, the football field is only 90 yards. Athletes who use it complain the artificial turf is too firm and burns their skin. The field also has a set of lopsided goal posts. While the soccer team can use the field for games, the football team must travel by bus to play home games at Curt Flood field off Coolidge Avenue.

Some of Fremont’s portables are also in disrepair. The red portables, which house Media Academy classes, were supposed to be a temporary fix and replaced decades ago.

Teachers complain that the tile floors are falling apart, the walls need fresh paint and some walls have holes. Mice, termites and mold are also a problem, they say.

“They should tear all the portables and replace them with brand new ones,” said Media Academy senior Diana Le while taking a class in one of the red portables.

 

In 2006, Oakland voters approved Measure B, which included a $10 million plan to modernize Fremont Federation and replace many of the portables as well as the gym.

According to a March 2010 report, however, the district has only spent $545,932 of that money at Fremont, fixing portable classrooms at College Preparatory & Architecture Academy and a few science labs.

While the rest of Fremont’s modernization has been put on hold, the district has used more than $21 million of Measure B to rebuild parts of Oakland High.

Takedegawa said that while “Oakland High had some specific conditions that were deficient… It is clear that Fremont is due for some significant improvements.”

Reaction to the district plan is mixed at Fremont.

Many students are excited, but some are upset the project has been delayed for so long and are skeptical that it will ever actually happen.

“It’s great that they’re rebuilding the school, but I also don’t like that it’s not going to be built by the time I’m gone,” said Siliveinusi Tomasi, a Mandela senior who has had to play all his home games more than two miles away from Fremont.

Coover is not holding his breath.

“I won’t believe that they’re rebuilding the school until I see it,” he said.