“After being gone on break for two weeks, the kids didn’t know that when they came back, the multi-use building would be done,” said Byron Union School Superintendent Ken Jacopetti. “We weren’t sure either, but over the break, crews were able to put the finishing touches on everything. When the students came back for their Monday Huddle, there were lots of cheers all around. Everyone is excited.”
And understandably so. Renovations to the aging campus have been underway since the summer of 2010. For the first time since 1949, students will have a brand new 2,700-square-foot library, cafeteria and theater to call home.
“It was definitely time,” laughed Jacopetti, who added that an official celebration of the completion of the project is planned after the first of the year. “It’s been quite the dance.”
And it’s not over yet. Three new soccer fields and track are in the works, as are the renovation of 14 classrooms, plus a new gymnasium – scheduled to be named the Joey Graves Gymnasium in honor of the former Excelsior student who was killed in Iraq in 2006. The track and fields and classroom projects are scheduled to be completed in May of 2012. The gymnasium is slated to be done in August of 2012.
The school district project was paid for by Measure C dollars – a $19,700,00 bond passed in 2006 to improve the quality of education in the Byron district. District projects already completed or slated for completion include the installation of district-wide technology, renovated sports fields and bathrooms as well as a fourth/fifth-grade plaza project, an expanded kindergarten area and new fencing at Discovery Bay Elementary, a new pickup loop, extra parking and a fenced storage area at Timber Point Elementary, and Excelsior’s new driveway that feeds into Byer Road.
As allocated by state law, Measure C dollars can be used only for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or replacement of school facilities and not for administrator or teacher salaries.
All in all, said Jacopetti, the long-term projects (the renovation conversation began with former superintendent Tom Meyer and continued through to recent superintendent Eric Prater) have been worth the wait. “It’s been an ebb and flow but all worth it,” said Jacopetti. “Just to be able to walk through the multi-use room and see the quality of everything – it’s just wonderful.”
To view a slideshow of the project’s progress, visit www.byronusd.com.