Courtesy of San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum:
Dear San Benito High School Parents, Students and Community:
While the San Benito High School campus has been closed to on-site instruction during the ongoing pandemic, our dedicated groundskeepers, custodians and maintenance technicians have been hard at work upgrading and improving facilities ahead of the anticipated return of students and staff.
The Maintenance, Operations and Transportation (MOT) team, led by Kristy Bettencourt, has embodied the Baler STRONG attributes of teamwork and growth, completing a variety of projects that continue the momentum begun in recent years through campus facility upgrades supported by voter-approved bond measures.
Main Campus Upgrades
On the main campus, the team has improved more than a dozen classrooms, converting some spaces from their previous uses by installing carpet and vinyl tackboards, refreshing paint, replacing glass and installing display monitors and whiteboards. Some classrooms have been converted into Next Gen rooms, with technology upgrades including wall monitors and ergonomic desks.
Former science rooms, no longer necessary as labs after the opening of the Science and Robotics Building, have had old gas and water lines removed to expand the space for other classroom uses. Additional exterior lighting has been added to provide better visibility and security at night and the Migrant, TPP and Wellness Center rooms have been refreshed and updated.
“I am proud of the progress we have made as a team and the effect that the teamwork has had on our campus,” Ms. Bettencourt said. “Even in this challenging time, our MOT team has truly pulled together and made our staff and students’ well-being our first priority.”
The Greening of Campus
More than 180 trees have been planted campus-wide, with more on the way. Crews have upgraded and installed efficient watering systems to support the new trees, while also adding drought-resistant plants to soften and beautify the campus.
Uneven pathways have been repaired and the grounds team began a weed eradication practice along the southern perimeter of campus along the River Parkway to increase visibility security and driver safety.
Safety and Security Are Priorities
Also on the south side of campus, the team installed gate systems and are working on a permanent perimeter fence along the parkway to create additional access for staff and students to the Science and Robotics Building, multipurpose field, ag barn and Baler Aquatic Center. These gates will also provide additional security and help reduce possible vandalism and theft.
Improved Access Across Campus
Behind the new Associated Student Body building west of Mattson Gym, outside courtyard covers were re-roofed, re-sheeted and repainted, and new lighting was added. The maintenance team created a shortcut pathway between the east and west campuses, between the ASB courtyard and the varsity baseball field, to reduce student and staff exposure to traffic along Nash Road.
Outdoor Learning Environments
Near the Career Technical Education (CTE) building, the team created an outdoor learning environment including tables, umbrellas and signs that will include facts about the landscaping in the immediate area. Students will participate in interactive curriculum addressing drought tolerant plants, various species of trees, and bioswales, which are channels or drains designed to concentrate and convey stormwater runoff while removing debris and pollution.
“I am excited to continue to create outdoor learning environments that are interactive for our students and work with the curriculum that is being taught by our teachers,” Ms. Bettencourt said.
Ongoing Cleaning and Sanitizing
Throughout campus, our custodial team has removed or replaced carpets, waxed tile floors and deep-cleaned every classroom on campus. As staff and students return to campus, the staff will continue to disinfect any areas being utilized to ensure a safe and clean environment.
Delivering Students and Nutrition
SBHS bus drivers have remained busy each day, delivering meals to students and, more recently, have begun transporting small cohorts of students to school for targeted instruction and support.
The sense of pride and attention to detail displayed by our MOT team is evident throughout campus, which will be a welcoming, beautiful and safe space for students, faculty, staff and our community once in-person instruction resumes.
Until that time, the team works diligently every day to update, maintain and modernize San Benito High School, reminding me that every day is a great day to be a Baler!
San Benito High School District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum