SAN DIEGO–A crowd of Emerson-Bandini “Jaguars” joined San Diego Unified leaders, families, and construction crews at a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating an historic milestone for the aging campus in Southcrest.
To kick off the complete site rebuild, construction crews began demolishing two buildings on the northeast corner of the site in May, to make way for a state-of-the-art, 22,000 square-foot, two-story wing of classrooms, as well as new kindergarten and new preschool classroom buildings with their own dedicated outdoor play areas. In the remaining space, a new administrative and health building, an outdoor amphitheater, and lunch court will be constructed.
“This groundbreaking marks the beginning of a new chapter for Emerson-Bandini, as well as the entire Southcrest community,” Principal Juan Romo said.
Crews will move on constructing the two-story classroom hall, new kindergarten and preschool classroom buildings, administration and health building, outdoor play areas, an outdoor amphitheater, and a lunch court. Renovations will also be underway: the multi-purpose room, library media center, cafeteria, and kitchen will be fully refurbished; the existing turf field will be reshaped and expanded to more than 26,400 square-feet; a new staff and visitor parking lot will be constructed, and new landscaping will be installed.
To ensure safety and security, crews will add perimeter fencing, new security cameras, and a single point-of-entry at the school.
“As a district, we are committed to providing all of our schools with safe and well- maintained facilities,” Superintendent Cindy Marten said. “Emerson-Bandini will be an example of safety, security, and digital literacy when this project is complete.”
Emerson-Bandini’s site transformation is poised to complete in winter 2021. When complete, the campus will become a TK-5 campus; formerly, these grades were assigned to both Emerson Elementary and the nearby Bandini Elementary School campuses.
This project fulfills a longstanding commitment after the discovery of high levels of lead in the drinking water on the Emerson-Bandini campus in 2016. Since the discovery, San Diego Unified has been testing all drinking water outlets for high levels of lead and remediating each elevated fixture using one of the strictest water standards in the country.
State and Federal guidelines require action be taken if lead is found in drinking water at levels of 15-parts-per-billion or higher; the district’s standards are three times stronger than that. As part of this project, the Emerson-Bandini campus will receive filtered water bottle hydration stations, providing drinking water at the highest quality.
“I’m proud of the work our district has done since our initial high lead-level results in 2016,” said Board Trustee Richard Barrera. “We lead the nation with our strict drinking water quality standards, and other districts are following our lead.”
The project is fully funded through Propositions S & Z.