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Carl F. Smith campus grows
[February 15, 2013]

Carl F. Smith campus grows

TERRA BELLA, Feb 15, 2013 (The Porterville Recorder - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Two new instructional wings -- modular units converted to look like permanent buildings -- have been added to Carl F. Smith Middle School to accommodate future growth.

"This makes it exciting. Seeing the process has been fantastic," said school principal Guadalupe Roman. "People in Terra Bella see it too and are always commenting on how great it looks." The $2.2 million project was funded by money from Measure K in 2008 and two sets of proposition funds -- Prop. 55 and Prop. 1D, from 2004 and 2009, respectively.

"Back in 1994, we were to get what we call a 400 building with a bathroom and science building. It never happened," said Frank Betry, Terra Bella Union School District superintendent. "When eligibility for new construction came up, we decided to go with two science classrooms in modular buildings." The project consists of two buildings, one with two large classrooms, and the other with two classrooms, and additional school bathrooms -- including one for staff, one for female students and one for male students.

All of the new classrooms sport small, high windows, solar lighting and will receive plug-ins for computers and a Smart Board -- an interactive whiteboard -- something the district does not have. The science room will also receive a demonstration table.

"The windows are designed so that students can look out and see the sky but not other students playing. It keeps them from being distracted," Betry said.

Betry said he has not provided Smart Boards to classrooms because the Internet in Terra Bella in the past has not been good.

However, it is his plan to obtain the boards for all Carl Smith Middle School classrooms within the next couple of years.

"We're looking into having a technology lab. We're interested in a class on robotics and working on projects focusing on the weather. We would like to set up a weather station -- there's none in Terra Bella," Betry said.

Roman toured the rooms with a few students and a teacher.

Eighth-grader Eddgardo Aldaco said he was impressed with the lighting after listening to Betry and Roman talk about the solar lights.

The students could not believe that the power was still off in the building.

"I like the solar lights and that the rooms are much bigger. There's a lot more space," Aldaco said.

The solar units provided so much light, it is leaving administrators wondering if the room will be dim enough for Smart Board or other video presentations.

Lorena Gonzalez, also an eighth grader, said she's excited to see new restrooms.

The school has only a couple of bathrooms for students, one each for boys and girls next to the cafeteria, and one in the nurses' office.

"It's always crowded, especially at P.E. when everyone wants to change into shorts," Gonzalez said. "It will be nice to have some more bathrooms." Once the new complex is ready, the district's budget can accommodate new tables and technology.

In the meantime, no students are displaced, Betry said, as the school was designed with an ADA, average daily attendance, of 587 but currently has 290 students.

Also in the plan is placing a tall, wrought-iron fence along the west border of the new complex.

Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.

___ (c)2013 The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.) Visit The Porterville Recorder (Porterville, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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