gmhTODAY 30 gmhTODAY April June 2020s | Page 78

School Days: Gilroy Unified School District What's on First: Brownell Renovation Project By Melanie Corona, Public Information Officer, Gilroy Unified School District Project Highlights Cost: $70.8 million, thanks to the Gilroy vot- ers who passed Measures E and P New Construction: Six classroom pods (6th, 7th and 8th grades) with integrated outdoor learning spaces; administration build- ing; kitchen and media center; recreation space (Modernization) Project: Improvements to existing gymnasium and multi-purpose room (Additional Project) Highlights: Available visitor parking and stu- C hances are if you’ve driven down First Street between Carmel and Hanna Streets, you’ve noticed a great deal of activity and change. Thanks to the voters of Gilroy who passed Measures E and P, the one of the oldest campuses in the Gilroy Unified School District is being transformed into a new, state-of-the-art cam- pus to serve students in sixth through eighth grades. The first phase will be completed in the summer of 2020. Conceptualizing for the project began in early 2018 with a design team that consisted of staff members and admin- istrators from GUSD and Brownell. The design team was led by Aedis Architects and the project continues to garner national attention for its attention to design, safety and secu- rity aspects. The school design boasts 21st century learning environment “pods” for each grade level, featuring innova- tive and collaborative classrooms and an integrated outdoor learning environment. Students will have the opportunity to learn using new technology infrastructure, maker spaces and science labs. The Brownell Modernization Project officially kicked off in the summer of 2019, and the first phase included total demolition of a number of classroom buildings on the north side of the campus. During this demo phase, Flint Builders, the contractor on the project, uncovered the old pool that had long been cemented over, as well as a number of “treasures” that exist on a school campus that is over 80 years old. Following the initial demolition, much of the work being done was underground with electrical work and foundational trenching being the first order of business to complete. In February 2020, above-ground work really accelerated. Early in February, the first of the modular pods were delivered to cam- pus from the Lodi, CA plant where they were manufactured. These classroom pods will house sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, with integrated outdoor learning spaces for students and central collaboration areas for teachers. Unlike traditional construction projects, each building that is being constructed for the Brownell Renovation Project, is manu- factured offsite and transported in when the site is ready for install. In addition to the six new pods, which house seven classrooms each, the project includes a new administration building, kitchen, state-of-the-art library and media center, and recreation space for student use. The existing multi- purpose room, used for band and choir performances, and other activities and gymnasium will not be replaced, but updated. Additional visitor parking, student drop-off areas, and additional staff parking, a new student quad, and renova- tion of athletic and recreation areas will also be included in the project. The project is on the forefront of energy efficiency. Each pod will generate and utilize its own energy using a photo- voltaic panel that feeds electricity back to the grid. The pods will decrease the school site’s carbon footprint by generating kilowatts which will be conserved and utilized by the campus during the school year and then will feed back into the City’s energy grid during summer break. The existing sixth grade classrooms will be demolished in summer of 2020, and the new pods will be installed and ready to be occupied in December of this year. The Gilroy Unified School District will host a Phase I opening in August 2020 and a ribbon cutting that welcomes the entire community to tour the campus in May of 2021 once the project is complete. 78 SPRING 2020 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN dent drop-off area; added staff parking; student quad; relocate track and athletic fields and reno- vate existing outdoor recreation areas.