The Dougherty Valley High School community held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon in honor of the San Ramon school's expansion.
Dozens turned out to one of the new classrooms where a few staff and San Ramon Valley school board members spoke about the new science labs, the green technology and alternative energy (GTAE) education program and funding for the school expansion.
“This is a really cool moment for us because our science department has been sharing and really crammed into a pretty small space, so now the kids are ecstatic," principal Dan Hillman said. “This is the first time they've had all their stuff all in one space and don't have to share a classroom. This is a big deal."
The new building includes 12 classrooms, seven of which are science labs, according to Hillman. It is located at the west end of the 1000 wing on the east San Ramon campus at 10550 Albion Road.
The total construction cost of the project was $7 million -- the bulk of the funding coming from Measure D, the $260 million school facilities bond measure passed by San Ramon Valley voters in November 2012.
The school board approved the construction contract in March 2015 and work began that spring, with the project completed this summer in time for the start of classes at Dougherty Valley High on Monday.
“This classroom in the future could also be used for courses like green engineering and green physics. It's career-readiness with a very specific field in mind," said Annie Nguyen, who teaches chemistry and AP environmental science at the new building.
“Although it's only the third day of the school year, I have already observed significant excitement in both my students as well as myself," Nguyen said Wednesday. “To be able to experience this worthwhile curriculum in a new room unlike any other on campus."
Dougherty Valley High School was supported by Measure D for two projects. One is a classroom addition necessary to help accommodate future enrollment as homes are completed in the Dougherty Valley. The second is the GTAE classroom that is funded up to 50% through a state grant.
“We had an $800,000 grant from the state for the green technology alternative energy education program, which helped fund the classroom," said Michelle Sandusky, project manager of the school district.
Although listed in the bond as separate projects, the district has been able to combine them into one building, allowing a savings on construction costs.
“Prior boards that had the foresight to sit down with developers and say ‘taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for the schools and you need to contribute and be a part of the solution' saved taxpayers a billion dollars," school board president Greg Marvel said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.