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Video: Parents, Teachers Speak Out About Jefferson Expansion

Public comments from the March 7 school board meeting included concerns and praise for the expansion and modernization of Jefferson Elementary.

The plan to add classrooms and modernize  brought praise from two teachers at a recent school board meeting, but one parent argued that the process has not been transparent and the project costs too much money.

A  will be held on March 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in  multi-purpose room.

BACKGROUND

The $6 million Jefferson Modernization and Expansion Project was approved by the board in April, 2011 as a way to address over-population in the north zone of the Berkeley Unified School District. .

The project is currently awaiting design approval. The project would add five classrooms — by constructing six and removing one portable — in the space where the library and learning center are currently located. 

The learning center would be relocated to the main office area. A new building would be constructed in the space where the portable classroom currently stands, and would house the main office as well as the library on the first and second floor respectively. 

The listed benefits of the construction and relocations include: a larger library, more room for staff, minimal impact on the playground space — a reduction of 5 percent — and increased security due to the relocation of the main office to the edge of campus. 

Modernization will also take place, with upgrades to the fire alarm, clocks and bells, electrical services, elevator controls and some restrooms and windows, in addition to improved accessibility and a new public address. 

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

What do you think of the expansion project planned for Jefferson Elementary school? Have you experienced cramped conditions there?

katie mckee March 20, 2012 at 07:19 PM
No one seems to have considered that this construction and it's 2 story building are a few yards away from the Crowden Music school. The Crowden Music Center educates about 400 music students of all ages every week in classes and private lessons. It provides space for major local music programs such as the San Francisco Girls Chorus, Music Together, and Young People’s Symphony Orchestra to teach, rehearse, and record. It is the home for The Crowden School, a unique chamber-music centered middle school that has been recognized by the Berkeley Historical Society as a “Berkeley First.” It serves Bay Area families with popular family-friendly concerts featuring both student and professional performers that are either free or very affordable, and always free for children 18 and under. The Center is open and busy 48 weeks a year. Crowden community members use the campus as a place to study, rehearse, record and perform. If the proposed construction makes these activities less possible to do successfully, it will damage the school's ability to function. There are many other concerns: Health, dust, children with asthma, safety, getting to school, parking, traffic, loss of light to classrooms, increase of traffic and crowding during the construction phase, just to name a few. I am very unhappy with what seems to be a complete disregard for the impact a project of this scale will have on The Crowden Music School.
Tanya Jo Miller March 21, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Hi Katie, thanks for your comment. This could make an interesting followup story.
Joan Hartley March 22, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Dropping kids off at the school has already become moderately dangerous. There is not enough room for cars to park appropriately. Kids are crossing in the middle of the street, and even when kids cross through the cross walk, the visibility is very poor due to all the cars parked around the corners and the mass of cars in the street.

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