Between 30 and 40 people attended the school facilities open house at Bartlett Middle School on Wednesday, to review and make suggestions for Porterville Unified School District’s (PUSD) Facility Master Plan.
PUSD is currently working on the Long-Range Facilities Master Plan, and school principals, Superintendent Nate Nelson, Assistant Superintendent Martha Stuemky, and Assistant Superintendent Brad Rohrbach, as well as PUSD Board of Trustees President Lillian Durbin and Board member James Carson were all present.
A few students, but mostly parents and some grandparents, or extended family members mostly from the Hispanic community, contributed their thoughts and made suggestions for the school facilities. They spoke at length with school principals, learning directors, and deans who wrote down their suggestions on large white sheets of poster paper near the featured school plan. Many parents also filled out surveys about the proposed Master Plan in English or Spanish.
Suggestions were written down for Bartlett, Los Robles Elementary, Roche Avenue Elementary, Belleview Elementary, Olive Street Elementary, Porterville High, and Citrus High School and they took in the practical needs for each school site including athletic fields, cafeterias, gymnasiums, classrooms, bus loading and parking.
Principal Jose Valdez also wrote down suggestions for Porterville High School from parents, and they included: And update of track and field practice areas, storage for field equipment, restroom remodels and additions, and shade over the pool area. Suggestions for modernization and top priorities from the Master Plan Organizers included: roofing, resurfacing the pool, repairing pool deck, new starting blocks, modernizing gym facilities and locker rooms.
For Belleview Elementary School the only suggestion was for a parking lot.
Principal Mike Tsuboi of Bartlett Middle School stood nearby, while Armando Gomez, Bartlett’s Dean, spoke to parents and community members in Spanish and helped them by writing their suggestions for Bartlett improvements on white sheets of paper next to the plans. Improvements were: Shade on athletic fields, additional restrooms, upgrade softball and baseball diamonds, flooring in hallways, refurbish windows in hallways, bleachers in sport venues, facelift in classrooms (i.e. paint, carpet), general beautification/flowerbeds, more benches or seating on campus, and additional parking
Parents also spoke at length about their suggestions and wishes with Principal Patrisia Espinosa of Los Robles Elementary and she wrote down their many ideas. Improvements for Los Robles were: Shade structure, update student restrooms, benches/outdoor seating/bleachers, new classroom doors, carpeting in all classrooms, parking structure, trees, air conditioning system, shade structure in pick-up/drop-off areas.
Suggestions for Roche Avenue Elementary were not as extensive. Principal Kellie Kroutil and Learning Director Lisa Synder spoke with parents, and their ideas were: More shade on the playground, and a larger cafeteria. The school needs assessment were for roofing, restroom updates, and drainage and utility improvements.
Principal Scott Braden of Citrus High School wrote down improvements such as: shade structure in the outer courts and seating area and a new greenhouse.
For Olive Street Elementary Principal Elizabeth Torres spoke with parents and wrote down a list of safety and practical suggestions for the school, which included: flashing lights for crosswalks on all the streets surrounding the school, bigger cafeteria, shade structures on the playground, more parking, improved play areas (grass) and modernizing drinking fountains. Facility Master plan needs assessment for Olive Street noted: modernization of roofing, ADA compliance, new or expanded multipurpose building (cafeteria), new bus turnout/parent pick-up, and additional restrooms by the kindergarten playground.
“We did the digital online master plan and we are also doing these on site open houses, so the community can see what we’ve learned from visiting each site and their needs,” said Ken Reynolds, President of School Works, the company that’s helping PUSD develop the facility master plan.
“This informational meeting helps a lot of parents to visualize that their school and other schools are important,” said Stuemky, “And we need their help and feedback in determining what’s most important for improvements.”
“We want to hear from the community about their schools,” Nelson said, “and what they want to see. In our survey we are asking students, parents, teachers, principals and other staff, to let us know their thoughts. And at the end of it, we will put it all together for the board of directors, so they can see the results. And make their decisions regarding the facilities for the future.”
The final facilities meeting was held Thursday at Sequoia Middle School.