San Mateo (Calif.) at the Center of School-Renovation Boom

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, March 19, 2012

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may be winding down, but there's another economic stimulus taking place in and around San Mateo (Calif.), where two school districts are spending hundreds of millions of dollars overhauling their facilities.

The San Mateo Union High School District and San Mateo-Foster City elementary district are engaged in a building frenzy fueled by voter-approved bonds. Similar activity is occurring throughout the county and elsewhere around the Bay Area, as districts seek to make their schools safe, technologically up-to-date and more energy-efficient.

Nowhere is the mid-Peninsula boom more evident than at San Bruno's Capuchino High School, which is undergoing an overhaul of around $45 million. The gyms and theaters are being refurbished, and workers are putting the finishing touches on a new building with 24 classrooms and two computer labs.

The money is coming from Measure M, a $298 million bond measure passed by voters in 2006. Measure D, a previous bond, paid for an earlier set of upgrades at Capuchino in the 2000s. By the time this latest project is completed in 2013, every building of the Spanish-style school will have been revamped.

"The school, inside and outside, has gone through a major transformation -- every corner of the school," said Assistant Principal Margarita Navarro.

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