Monday, I retraced my steps and took another walk-through. This time, the workmen were gone, and a number of interested Tracyites — including former students and teachers — were there on the tour to see the completed building that was occupied earlier this month.
Without exception, we were all impressed. When the library-classroom building is combined with the new west building and the new single-story building containing the cafeteria, FEAST lab and Joe Foster Music Center, the core of Tracy High’s campus has been transformed into a state-of-the-art learning complex.
There’s still some work on entrances and landscaping of the new buildings continuing, but for the most part, the projects have been completed. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a dedication ceremony and open house will give many Tracy-area residents a chance to see the transformed Tracy High campus themselves.
Monday’s informal tour, organized by Trustee Bill Swenson, was led by Bonny Carter, the facilities planner for the Tracy Unified School District.
First stop was the library, a large, open room with a high ceiling in the southwest corner of the two-story building. Books are still being added to the stacks that face a large service desk.
Next door is a room that tells a great deal about today’s world of information sharing and technology. It is equipped with 34 computer terminals used by the students to search the World Wide Web for information, take notes and write papers. Books are still important, but knowing how to access to the Web in search of information is becoming an increasingly essential skill that can be honed in the library.
In addition to the library facilities, the new two-story building houses 18 classrooms — most on the second floor — and a large conference room. All the classrooms are now in use, and teachers had gathered in the conference room for a meeting while the tour was under way.
Looking out the windows of the classrooms, you can look down on the expansive network of walkways and student-gathering areas around the new buildings and between them and the gymnasium complex constructed in days gone by. A whole lot of concrete was poured to create the outdoor facilities.
Bonny mentioned that although most of the portable classrooms have been removed from the campus, a courtyard containing five portables remains. She said Tracyites shouldn’t be surprised if portables continue to be a part of the campus because of the popularity of the Tracy High campus and its programs.
When the present construction contract is completed sometime this spring, some additional outdoor projects for facilities and landscaping will be started with money left over from the Measure E bonds that, when combined with state matching funds, financed the new Tracy High buildings.
The final major project financed by Measure E bonds is at West High School, where a 250-seat black-box theater is being constructed.
Once that theater is put into use, Tracyites can look at the new Tracy High campus core, the completed West High School and the new Kimball High School and realize how all of these projects combine to place high school facilities in Tracy on remarkably solid footing. It’s indeed a major accomplishment that will serve our area — and most importantly, our students — well for decades to come.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by e-mail at email@example.com.