Vista San Gabriel Elementary School groundbreaking

Vista San Gabriel Elementary School and Wilsona School District administrators, trustees and dignitaries hold a ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday afternoon to celebrate construction of three new 21st-century kindergarten classrooms that are expected to open in October.

LAKE LOS ANGELES — Vista San Gabriel Elementary School will get three new 21st century kindergarten classrooms designed to help prepare the Class of 2034 for their future.

Vista San Gabriel and Wilsona School District administrators and trustees held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday afternoon on the playground in the southwest corner of the campus at Avenue O and 180th Street East. The ceremony was conducted with limited in-person attendance and with a live broadcast on the District’s Facebook page.

“It’s a little surprising to think — where you’re sitting now we will have kindergarten students sitting in modern classrooms with new furniture and technology just five months from now,” Wilsona Superintendent Susan Andreas-Bervel said.

The kindergarten facilities project includes the construction of three new kindergarten classrooms to include in-classroom student restrooms and teacher workroom/storage areas. Associated site work including playground and circulation improvements will also be provided.

The classrooms have been designed to support 21st century 360-degree learning environments with flexible space and adaptable furnishings subject to reconfiguration and use as needed; flat screen high definition instructional monitors that accommodate mobile and stationary computer and display devices; tack boards and markerboards throughout that allow multiple writing surfaces and designated areas to pin student work and learning concepts; sliding markerboards that cover windows as needed; and mobile storage.

Construction is expected to be completed in October.

“Kindergarten plays such an important role in getting a child off to a great start in their education,” Andreas-Bervel said. “More than ever we are acutely aware of the importance of providing equity, rigor, and engagement so that all students can be successful and have options for their future.”

The total cost of the project is about $2.5 million. The District received an approximately $1.2 million competitive grant through the state’s Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program. The program allows school districts that lack the facilities to provide full-day kindergarten instruction to apply for one-time grants to construct new school facilities or retrofit existing school facilities for the purpose of providing full-day kindergarten classrooms.

Additional funds from Measure WE, the District’s $6.5 million bond measure approved by local voters in November 2018, are also being used for the project.

The District will also make improvements to its existing kindergarten facilities including new furniture for all kindergarten classrooms.

Vista San Gabriel Principal Suzanne Grissom noted some of the staff members at Friday’s ceremony also attended the original groundbreaking ceremony in 1987.

“In our classrooms at Vista San Gabriel, in our kindergarten classrooms but in all of our classrooms, our students are the heart and soul of all of our work,” Grissom said. “Our team of teachers and staff are driven and dedicated to growing our students into confident and competent learners and thinkers.”

Grissom added the new facilities will support students and house kindergarten students who will be the high school graduating class of the 2033-34 school year.

“Within these new rooms, as Dr. Bervel said, robust technology will support our students whether they come back to us on campus, or if they’re on distance learning,” Grissom said.

The new furniture will allow teachers to reconfigure their classrooms to the needs of their students.

“It is with extreme joy that we stand here as a united school board today, rejoicing over the future for our students of the Wilsona School District,” Board President Victoria Green said.

Green added: “No one individual can take credit for this achievement. This great day came about as a result of unity, hard work, and a team of professionals who worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality. … We are excited to see the development of these modern kindergarten classrooms at Vista San Gabriel Elementary School, and we look forward to the day that our students are enjoying them as they learn and grow.”

Charles F. Bostwick, assistant field deputy for Supervisor Kathryn Barger; Assemblyman Tom Lackey; and Sylvia Duarte from the Antelope Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce presented certificates of recognition at the ceremony.

Lackey presented a certificate of recognition Representatives from architectural firm Fleweling & Moody, general contractor Webb Builders Construction, and educational financial consultant Caldwell Flores Winters were also on hand.

Wilsona School District educates approximately 1,220 students in transitional kindergarten/kindergarten through eighth grade. Vista San Gabriel  educates just under 700 students. The school has about 140 students in transitional kindergarten/kindergarten.

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