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BUHS awards $7 million for gym, cafeteria

April 25, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — This city's high school district board awarded a more than $7 million contract Wednesday to an area construction firm to build Brawley Union High School's new gymnasium and cafeteria.

The project is the largest of the improvements funded through Measure T, the school bond approved by voters in the district in 1998.

Tenant Space Inc., which has an office in El Centro, was awarded the $7,449,477 contract. The firm will start on the project in coming weeks and both the gym and cafeteria are expected to be completed in around a year.

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The board approved the contract by a 4-1 vote with board member Gloria Santillan casting the dissenting vote. Santillan said she supports the building of the gym and cafeteria but said she thinks the gym would better serve the community off campus.

She said the campus is compacted and to add a second gym would limit the campus' ability to meet growth demands.

Bud Smith, principal at Brawley High, said the second gym will benefit the district by making it easier to balance the schedule of boys and girls athletics.

A portion of the project cost, about $2 million, will be covered through a state grant awarded to the district as part of a joint-use program that involves BUHS, the city of Brawley and the Boys and Girls Club.

The joint-use element of the grant means the city recreation department and the Boys and Girls Club will have shared use of the gym and cafeteria after school hours.

Santillan said she supports working with other agencies in the city and BUHS will continue to do so.

Karin Morgan, Brawley's parks and recreation director, said joint use has been a theme of the relationship between the city and school district, adding the grant will add to the effort to meet the needs of youth in the city.

She said with two gyms at the high school it will be possible to schedule more recreational events for teen-agers. She said one idea is to start a volleyball program.

Judy Chilcott, chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Club, said the building of new gym and cafeteria will coincide with construction on a teen center in the Lions Center to be run by the club.

Both facilities could open about the same time, based on construction schedules.

Chilcott said the gym could serve as an extension of the teen center, providing more opportunities to meet the needs of the city's youth.

Chilcott said she could envision programs at unusual hours to attract teens. For example, she said, a midnight basketball event could be staged at the high school.

She added the club's mini-basketball summer program for children could be at the high school.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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