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1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


| Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014
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Walls at Valencia Valley and Meadows Elementary Schools came tumbling down as part of an estimated $12 million modernization project.

A field of parts, red twisted scrap metal and aging beige plastic litter the school sites, but it’s not just the effects of a recent demolition — it’s a field of memories for hundreds of elementary school students.

“We’re just finishing tearing out one of our last portable buildings,” said Valencia Valley Principal Ken Hintz.

The demolition is part of a major overhaul to bring classrooms up to date with new present-day technologies and more cost-effective learning environments.

The new energy efficient building will provide wireless capabilities to the campus as well “high-performing” classrooms, according to district officials.

“This is just the beginning of the project,” Hintz said. “We’ll be putting in the new buildings hopefully soon, within the next month or so.”

Demolition of the long-standing classrooms has drawn scores of students to excitedly line the construction site’s perimeter fence.

“Students love to see all the demolition,” said Erick Kroenke, the Newhall School District’s Director of Facilities. “They love to see the crane in the back working and the excavation.”

To the disappointment of the students however, most of the toppling over takes place hours before school starts as a safety precaution.

Funds for the project come from Measure E, a bond fund approved by 66% of voters in Nov. 2011.

The district-wide modernization project is one of four purposes the bond sale serves which include capital projects that reduce costs in the Newhall School District’s operations fund as well as projects that improve, expand and modernize facilities, according to the district’s website.

The former buildings were intended to be temporary when they were installed more than a decade ago, and have remained due to budget limitations, Kroenke said.

“In a portable classroom, you have one window, one door,” Hintz said.

The new classrooms will provide students with two doors to enter and exit from, significantly larger windows and high vaulted ceilings which boost energy savings by allowing natural light to freely flow in.

When completed, students and staff will have access to wireless connections and new smartboards, as well as energy efficient cooling and heating systems.

“It’ll be a wonderful addition to this community,” Hintz said. “It’ll truly enhance their educational experience.”

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