Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dixon celebrates a new high school

Dixon celebrates a new high school

Community gathers for grand opening

By Melissa Murphy/Staff Writer

Article Launched: 08/12/2007 09:59:37 AM PDT

Dixon Unified School District¹s Senior Director of Personnel and former Dixon High School principal Brian Dolan speaks to attendees on Saturday during the dedication ceremony of the new campus. Classes will start Aug. 27 with 1,200 students. (Reporter photos/Ryan Chalk)

Construction delays have pushed the first day of school back eight days, but, on Saturday morning, hundreds of people from the Dixon community still took time to tour the city's brand new high school.

While construction crews were still busy with finishing touches, teachers, students, parents, and school and city officials gathered to celebrate the long-awaited grand opening of Dixon High School.

"We came so close to being finished today," said Ed Eusebio, senior director of facilities with the school district.

"We were determined to show you the school today. It's not about the bricks and mortar, it's about you, your kids, grandkids and their education. It's a great day indeed and there will be many more great days to come," Eusebio told the crowd.

The ceremony was the culmination of a process that began 10 years ago. The district's plan to build the new high school received a big boost in 2002 when voters approved Measure J, a $29.2 million bond measure.

"I can't believe we started this 10 years ago," said Mayor Mary Ann Courville. "This project has involved the entire community. We're so very blessed to have so many dedicated citizens."

A prolonged rainy season caused a delay in construction, which prompted officials to reschedule the first day of school from Aug. 15 to Aug. 27. The delay only affects high school students in the district.

Thursday, the school board will decide the best way to make up the eight school days lost as a result of this new schedule.

However, the delay didn't take away from the excitement of the opening day.

Curious members of the community meandered around the new school that now has grass and trees planted where dirt was just a few days before.

"I think the students

(From left) English teacher Virginia Lantry, Vice Principal Cindy Moody-Perkins, and ASB President Thea Gabriel talk about facilities at the new school. (Reporter photos/Ryan Chalk)

will appreciate the new campus," said Karin Chacon, who was walking with her daughter Melanie Chacon, a senior at the high school.

"It looks great," Melanie said.

The new campus will be a "closed campus," meaning students can't drive or walk during lunch to restaurants in downtown Dixon. New gates around the school prevent students from arbitrarily leaving campus.

"I feel closed in," said sophomore Andria Aguilera. "But the campus is a lot nicer."

Bobby Jimenez, who will be a junior, agreed and said the campus is much larger.

"I might get lost here," he said laughing. "It is a lot nicer."

Some of the buildings still have minor finishing touches still to be done before the first day of school.

For example, classrooms in the science building still need flooring and furniture.

Students participating in a leadership program shared with the onlookers what the finished product will look like.

Sophomore Jeffrey Sparks was standing in the science building.

"The school is beautiful," he said, adding that the old campus was showing signs of wear.

"The walls were starting to peel away. It will be great to learn in a brand new classroom."

Melissa Murphy can be reached at dixon@thereporter.com.

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