HAYWARD — More than a year and 50 meetings later, the designs for five school campuses have been completed, and construction is scheduled to begin as soon as the students leave for summer vacation.
Four elementary schools — East Avenue, Tyrrell, Schafer Park and Fairview — and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School each are about to undergo renovations that school district facilities director Dave Gallaher says will make them state-of-the-art facilities on par or superior to any others around.
"We took all the best ideas out there, from the staff, from the community and from the architects, and blended them together," he said. "We were looking forward, incorporating things like technology in classrooms, energy efficiency, and sustainability in buildings and grounds — the best of new ideas."
Each school is more than 50 years old.
Gallaher said that once construction is complete, they will be unrecognizable.
"This is much more than what people think when they hear 'remodel,' " he said. "When you pass by, you will not see any remnants of the old buildings. You will see it all as a new school. We're stripping down what's there to the framing and rebuilding it inside and out."
Work will be finished in 2012, according to a report from the Measure I Bond Oversight Committee.
Construction progress was part of a Measure I update that was presented to the school board at its meeting last week.
Of the $205 million approved by Hayward voters in 2008, about $14 million has been spent. Much of that has been on the architectural design and engineering of the school sites as well as security cameras that have been installed at every campus in the district.
Those cameras, which cost about $3.3 million, have been "very effective in deterring and prosecuting thefts, vandalism and other activities," the report said.
While that's about $300,000 over the budget set aside for the cameras, Gallaher said that officials did not want to skimp on security.
"When we got into it, we found that there was a need for a lot more cameras, as soon as we started using them," he said. "We didn't want to have to choose between areas that needed surveillance. Since we're underbudget in so many other areas, it's not going to be a problem overall."
Artist renditions and virtual tours of each campus are available at the district's Web site. To see them, go to http://husd.k12.ca.us and click on the Measure I link.
Mark Salinas, a member of the oversight committee, said the panel is very proud of the designs.
"We considered Hayward and all its residents, and especially the kids, in every aspect," he told the school board. "We made sure the buildings and technology inside stand tall, and are symbols that evoke our community's commitment to kids and the educational journey."
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473.