La Palomas’ Doves have been attending classes in a cluster of portable classrooms on Lone Tree Way for more than 40 years, but on Aug. 1, students will begin classes at the other end of Brentwood at the new 20,000-square-foot campus off of Guthrie Lane. The transition has been a long time coming, and Principal Regina Greene and her staff are thrilled.
“I remember when I came to La Paloma four years ago they told me we’d be getting a new campus, and it seemed like this long running joke,” Greene said. “We knew we would get a new campus eventually, but now that it’s actually built and you can walk around the campus, the excitement is insurmountable.”
The Liberty Union High School District has been looking for a new location for La Paloma since the City of Brentwood expanded Lone Tree Way from a two-lane country road to a six-lane thoroughfare. Traffic noise, often distracting students and staff, motivated the district to seek funding for a new facility. The district was able to secure $5 million from the state and another $5 million when the district sold the property, which will be occupied by Cornerstone Fellowship church later this year.
“This new campus is designed to give students a full educational experience,” said LUHSD Director of Project Development Wayne Reeves. “This is a permanent facility and it puts La Paloma in line with the educational experience offered at the comprehensive high schools. The Lone Tree location worked in the beginning, but as the area has changed, we couldn’t provide a safe environment conducive to education. The new campus will greatly enhance La Paloma’s hands-on, one-on-one educational experience.”
Greene, who is taking over the La Paloma principalship from Larry Rodriguez, said her staff is thrilled with the new campus and eager to move in. As classes begin in a few weeks, she understands that staff isn’t looking forward to the rushed unpacking – but the move will be worth it in the end.
“It’s going to be hectic,” Greene said. “I’m excited but I’m anxious and want to make this as smooth a transition as possible. We’re going to experience some bumps and I’ll probably have to put out some small fires in the first weeks, but what I’m looking forward to the most is seeing the look on the kids’ faces when they first step onto campus. I can’t wait to see their reaction.”
A continuation school for students who have experienced difficulty in the traditional high school setting, La Paloma’s 5-acre campus is larger and equipped with advanced education tools such as LCD projectors. Still, it’s the little things that will make a difference, Greene said. For one, La Paloma will now conduct graduation ceremonies on campus. In the past, such ceremonies have been held on the Liberty High School campus. Greene hopes the updated facility will create a greater sense of school spirit among the already tight-knit community of students and teachers.
Now that La Paloma has a modern campus, Superintendent Eric Volta hopes the La Paloma program will have room to grow. Greene said one program she’s interested in implementing is an expanded technology curriculum in which students are trained and certified in desktop publishing programs plus graphic arts and design programs.
La Paloma High School is now located at 400 Ghiggeri Drive in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-634-2888.