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Construction, Modernization Move Ahead

The clang and clatter of construction at many schools in the Long Beach Unified School District is giving way to the comfort of new and renovated classrooms. Local schools continue their most ambitious construction and modernization campaign in decades. Further progress, however, hinges on voters' passage of state matching funds in November. Cabrillo High School began the school year with its construction done, except for a nearly completed Performing Arts Center and finishing touches like paving, painting and quad work. The $45 million project is the district's first new high school in almost 50 years. Many modernization projects are nearing completion. Projects include windows, plumbing, wiring, alarms, lighting, heating, ventilation, paint, patching, floors, carpets and roofs. Avalon and Lafayette modernizations will be completed in coming weeks. Prisk, Washington, Franklin and Emerson should be done by December. Already, Franklin has reconfigured classrooms and added two-story structures to serve 400 more students. Butler and Lincoln schools recently added six classrooms, allowing each school to serve 200 more neighborhood children. Stanford, Rogers and Lindbergh will complete modernization next summer and fall. A new list for modernizations includes several schools that have started design work. They are Addams, Barton, Burbank, Cubberley, DeMille, Hamilton, Hill, Jordan, Lincoln, Marshall, Signal Hill, Stephenson and Willard. Poly and Lakewood high schools have planned about $15 million each in improvements. Upcoming projects depend upon voters' November passage of Proposition 47, the largest state school bond measure in U.S. history. The measure would provide more than $13 billion for schools. Local school construction has proceeded on schedule thanks to Measure A bonds, but schools need state matching funds to stretch local dollars. Four land parcels are in various stages of planning, including the Dooley's site in North Long Beach, which could become a K-5 school by 2005. The downtown Broadway and Golden site will become a K-5 school, estimated to open in September 2004. The Hill and Redondo parcel in Long Beach near the eastern border of Signal Hill will become a K-8 school as early as September 2004. The former GTE property in Signal Hill will become a middle school, estimated to open in 2005.