Voters approve bond; $100 million will go toward new Fremont

Voters approve bond; $100 million will go  toward new Fremont

Henry Jean-Philippe

A new Fremont High School is now on its way.
This is thanks to 84 percent of Oakland voters approving a $475 million bond measure to renovate Oakland Unified School District Schools.
District officials have placed Fremont at the front of the list with a $100 million reconstruction and modernization project.
Exact architecture plans have not yet been set, but school officials agree that reconstruction will be done gradually.
“Construction will be in phases. If we do the procedure as [we did in] the 70s, we will bring in new portables,” said Vice Principal Emiliano Sanchez.
One thing that is for certain — the red portables that now have termites, mold, mildew and dry rot are certain to be replaced. In fact, Principal Daniel Hurst said the portables will be the first thing to be torn down.
Students have their own set of priorities.
“They should work on rebuilding our gym because it gets cold and it’s old,” said senior Arthur Stone.
Senior Maria Solano also wants improvements to the fitness facilities, as well as to the old, rotting portables.
“They should get rid of the portables, and they should totally rebuild the field so [the football team] can play football,” said Solano.
Even though these seniors will not be here next year, their hopes for a new Fremont are likely to come true because of the rebuild plan.
“Our field [will change]. We want to have a full football field with bleachers to have at games and [that’s also] a soccer field,” said Nidya Baez, the school’s community manager and a facility committee member. “My understanding is that there will be a softball and track field.”
Fremont football players currently have to travel to Curt Flood Field to play games because the field on campus is only 90 yards and that is inadequate for the games.
The rotting portables are so bad that they are an easy target for burglars. Recently, burglars were able to put a hole into an exterior wall of one of the portables, although they did not manage to take anything once they broke through.
Teacher Elizabeth Siarny says she is looking forward to moving out of her portable classroom because she feels it has caused her to be sick. Returning after last summer, Siany often experienced the following symptoms: headaches, sore throats and a burning nose.
Fremont is also turning to be a “green” school to avoid harm to the environment and its students, Baez explained.
“We’ll have green roofs, gardens on roofs — the plan is for school net-zero energy, reduce the amount of energy [used],” she said. “They are designing a building to be more energy efficient.”
Plans are aimed at “fast tracking” the proposal to get a new building quickly.
Hurst said that the architects need to create final plans and submit them to the state for approval. This would take at least a year, he said.
The new school design is going to be based on Lick Wilmerding, a private high school in San Francisco.
Hurst said that the committee would like for the football field to be rebuilt along 47th Avenue, where the 1100 and 1200 hallways, courtyard and Architecture science rooms are located.
Hurst said he wants to school running the same, uninterrupted while parts of the school are being built.
Baez said that could mean that students would get bagged lunches during part of construction. The cafeteria will be rebuilt to help give students fresher food, Baez said.
Some wonder how the school will run while facilities are being rebuilt. For that, school officials have developed a plan.
“We will rebuild half the school while the other half is in session,” said Sanchez.
Baez is concerned a new campus would be a waste of money if there aren’t enough students who come to Fremont. Enrollment is less than half of what it used to be. Violence around the Fremont campus may dissuade more potential students and parents from being part of the Fremont school, according to Baez.
“Community problems are blamed on Fremont because it is located in a high impact area,” said Baez.