New Land, New Ideas

FUSD buys land to build a new school

Vrunda Shah
Staff writer

Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) plans on building a new school on the new land purchased between Fremont Boulevard and Paseo Padre Parkway, south of Decoto Road in what is historically known as the American High School Attendance Area. There was a district meeting on April 22, 2015 on Technology Drive to discuss potential scenarios.

Due to the new residential development and the influx of students enrolling in schools, FUSD bought new land to address this problem. American High School already struggles with the rise of enrollment, as they build new portables this year to accommodate students.

A zoomed out view of the land where the new school is going to be build.
A zoomed out view of the land where the new school is going to be build.

“I think that the issue of schools overflowing is extremely important because as Fremont grows bigger and bigger we need to be able to provide every student with a proper education; everyone has the right to an education, and students shouldn’t have to be fighting for desks in a classroom because our facilities don’t match the number of people who want to learn,” said SURF board member Victoria Yuan (11).

Director Therese Gain and Executive Director Ann Feng-Gagne presented a powerpoint with five possible scenarios to the school district board. The first scenario was to convert the new land to a new Middle School, while scenario two suggested to build a new Middle School and make Thorton into a 9th grade Academy. Before considering the other options, students have already expressed their concerns over these initial concepts.

“I am opposed to the idea of a 9th grade academy,” junior Denise Kuo said. “Where’s the high school experience in that? And just think about how clubs, sports, and other activities would be affected. It would be really weird to not have the freshmen, and simply be missing that membership and participation in activities. And if you have the 9th grade academy, how will these kids mature and grow if they literally have no one to learn from, like the upperclassmen? How would they make clubs or sports? Or would they even have those? That would be such a limited and boring experience. It’s important to have all grades together in my opinion.”

Scenario three proposed building a new high school on the property, turning American into a middle school and converting Thornton into an Elementary Potential for Expansion of Brookvale Elementary. Other scenarios included the construction of a new high school, where American and Thornton would be converted to middle schools, enabling Brookvale Elementary to expand. Another compromise included building a new high school, dropping American and Thornton to a lower level, establishing Thornton as an Elementary to a Magnet School such as Language Immersion Potential for Expansion of Brookvale Elementary.

“A possible different scenario is American High School can expand through Brookvale and Brookvale can be relocated to a different locations,” student board member Cara Yi said. “A concern, [however], is commute. The commute on Decoto Road is already busy with Thornton Junior High School and American High School, but with the new school transportation will be even busier.”

However, the meeting was held to discuss these scenarios and weigh the pros and cons of them, while exploring new scenarios; the district has yet to decide what to do with the new land.

Guest speaker Hiu Ng expresses his perspective on building a new school on April 22, 2015 at the school board meeting. “We only look at the new school from American High School’s point of view. How can this new school be a solution to all the other high schools? In 2021 there are going to be 3,000 students in Irvington High School.”
Guest speaker Hiu Ng expresses his perspective on building a new school on April 22, 2015 at the school board meeting. “We only look at the new school from American High School’s point of view. How can this new school be a solution to all the other high schools? In 2021 there are going to be 3,000 students in Irvington High School.”

“I think moving the elementary school to the horse farm is a more practical idea,” Kuo said. “The horse farm is not a very far commute for Brookvale kids and it is definitely large enough to accommodate an elementary school, even with an increase in population. It’s also a prime location for AHS to expand since it is literally in our ‘backyard’ and I know the high school distracts the elementary schoolers and when I was there, apparently AHS students pose a ‘stranger danger’ to the elementary schoolers as well.”

Before they decide what to do with the new piece of land, the school district will host a community discussion where everyone can express their opinions. The planning process started in September 2015 and the district will decide what to do with this piece of land before June 2016.

“I think that it’s important to take into consideration all the future generations that will be affected by this and to make a school that will lead to the best overall education for our community,” SURF board member and ASB Vice-President Tara Habibi (11) said. “We want to raise intelligent kids and with that comes the responsibility of the community to provide the facilities needed to support these individuals.”

To get more information about this issue check out the powerpoint: http://www.boarddocs.com/ca/fremont/Board.nsf/files/9VM2UG03DEB9/$file/Fremont%20Blvd%20Property%20Use_RevApril15.pdf

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