Oakhurst Elementary School buildings came crashing down as a excavator tore through the roofs and walls of the more than 50-year-old buildings last week. When school starts again in August, six classrooms and the school's office complex will be replaced with brand new modular classrooms thanks to a bond received by the Bass Lake Joint Unified School District in 2006.
Bass Lake Superintendent Glenn Reid said although the bond money was not originally for the modular classrooms -- it was for modernization, refurbishment, updating and new construction -- he has been working with the state to make it possible because modernizing the old classrooms would have cost as much as replacing them with newer, energy efficient modular buildings.
"They (old classrooms) were run down and not very energy efficient and the lighting wasn't what you want lighting to be in classrooms," Reid said. "These new ones are as slick as can be."
Modular classrooms aren't new to OES. Some were already placed on campus a year ago. The rest of the classrooms are now sitting at a plant in Bakersfield and will be brought up as soon as the new foundations are poured.
"Just like the others that were installed a year ago, the new modular classrooms are much more energy efficient and up to code," said Kathleen Murphy, OES principal. "Although the six classrooms that were taken down last week have great history, the classrooms were quite old and in need of repair. Prior students, of varying ages, have commented on their sadness at having their old classroom torn down; many memories in these six classrooms over the past 50 years."
OES has been a buzz of activity for more than a year now. In addition to the new multi-purpose room that opened last year and all the new classrooms, there will also be new parking and School Road will be widened next to OES with deceleration lanes.
"We will have a grand unveiling when the road is done so people can see and they will be very pleased," Reid said. "The play yard will be done with new grass and a sprinkler system and it's going to be like a new school and the community will be proud. Compared to the OES of several years ago, it's unrecognizable and 1,000% better.
More projects are scheduled for the district with the remaining bond money including a new gymnasium at Wasuma Elementary in Ahwahnee.