The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District celebrated the completion of new state-of-the-art athletic and aquatic facilities at Granada High School this month after nearly two years of construction.
The $16.6 million renovation -- which includes a new pool, two sand volleyball courts and a new classroom building with a weight room, physical education classroom, wrestling room and dance studio -- is one of several district projects paid for with Measure J funds.
"For years we've been working with athletic facilities that were not equivalent to the quality of our programs," Granada principal Matthew Hart said.
"We were working with athletic facilities that were made for a school of 1,200, but we're a school of 2,300," he continued, adding that the new facilities now match the size of the school as well as the quality of sports programs they offer.
Measure J is a $245 million facilities bond approved by Livermore voters in 2016. "The bond will be used to modernize classrooms, repair aging infrastructure, renovate facilities, improve school visibility, increase access for individuals with disabilities, upgrade hardcourts and improve overall safety and security," bond program director Kim McNeely told the Weekly in an email.
The Granada project broke ground in February 2019, and while the initial plan was for the facility to be operational by the start of the 2020-21 school year, the schedule was extended due to a groundwater issue, according to McNeely. However, with students currently learning remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic, the scheduling delay did not impact any planned uses for the facilities.
"We're really exactly on time because I'm kind of judging the opening by when it will be useful to students and had we opened in September of this (school) year -- that would be cool, I guess -- except that it doesn't really matter because students will be able to use it when they're allowed to come back," Hart said.
The new pool, which is three times bigger than the old one, offers additional lanes for practice and swim meets and satisfies the length requirements for water polo competitions. A cost-efficient filtration system, community pool house and changing area are among the other aquatic improvements for the project, according to the district.
"Before, no one would have hosted anything at our pool because it lacked some of the basic requirements of swim meets. And now, it's very well-stationed to provide that support for people," said Hart, adding that there is now potential for league finals and divisional events to be hosted at the home of the Matadors.
"We are incredibly excited for the project to be completed and for our athletes to begin utilizing these amazing facilities," Granada athletic director David Moore said in a statement announcing the project's completion.
"We are grateful for the community's support of high school athletics and recognition of the important role athletics plays in the lives of our student athletes. The new facility is something that all athletes -- both past and present -- can take pride in. We cannot wait for all of our teams to begin working hard in a space that will help them achieve their goals," Moore added.
Construction is also underway for a new Athletics & Aquatics Complex across town at Livermore High School. The scheduled completion date for the sports complex is spring 2022 and the pool is set for completion by summer 2023, McNeely said.
Other large-scale Measure J funded projects taking place throughout the district include a new two-story classroom building at East Avenue Middle School and a new classroom building, gym and drop-off/parking lot at Joe Michell K-8 School.
The bond also afforded video projection and voice enhancement systems to be distributed to every classroom in the district along with data infrastructure updates and the installation of security cameras throughout the district.