New Buildings Opened This Fall for 2021 School Year

Alexander Alvarez and Kimberly Buelna

Venice High students return to campus this school year welcomed by two brand new buildings. 

The two second-story buildings were finished during the quarantine. The Science and Shop buildings have been under construction for over 3 years. 

These classrooms enhance the student experience by providing up-to-date technology that will help them keep up with the 21st century, Principal Cynthia Headrick said.

“The new buildings feel very open and inviting and have a more college type feel than a high school,” Headrick said. “It feels very adult to me.” 

She also commented that the buildings are “still being updated.”

Both buildings are located at opposite ends of the school, the Science building located where the Far West staff parking lot used to be, and the Shop building located near where the old bungalows used to be.

Science teachers have been moved into the Science building, and fine arts teachers have been moved into the Shop building.

Some of the teachers that didn’t teach science or art-related classes were moved into the new buildings. The teachers were chosen by seniority, so the longer the teacher taught at Venice enabled a better chance to move into the new classrooms.

The Science building includes sinks and lab equipment specifically designed for science classes. It also includes an engineering room, an auto shop room, and a horticulture room that connects to the garden. The attendance office is also on the first floor.

Meanwhile, the Shop building is centered around more art-oriented classes, with features like a print room for graphic arts classes on the first floor and a communal whiteboard on the second floor.

Teachers have found that moving into the new buildings also means that there are adjustments to make. 

In 17-109, graphic arts teacher Eduardo Serna is now pondering how his new classrooms, including a print room, are going to work.

“How are we going to do screenprinting?” he said. “How are we going to clean? We work with large paper and we do large format printing.” 

Math teacher John Bruno also added that his new room, 17-206, is “a smaller space, so everything’s tighter.”

“I need to find a workflow around it,” he said. 

Both of these buildings include many features such as restrooms on both floors, upgraded air conditioning, larger hallways, water fountains, built-in ceiling mounted projectors, exterior security cameras, and many storage closets. 

There are also certain accommodations for students with disabilities on the second floor of the Science building, including shower and bathroom facilities. There are also elevators in both buildings required under the American Disabilities Act. 

There is little to no decoration yet in either building, since both spaces are new. According to history teacher Ahsan Minhas, who teaches in 16-203 in the Science building, it looks “empty.”

“There’s no art on the walls, no signs, no posters, and the hallways look like a hospital,” he said.  

In contrast, the second floor of the Shop building has a wall full of drawings.

Many of the teachers from temporary bungalow classrooms also moved to the new buildings, including Bruno. The bungalows have been around for more than 20 years and were all removed over the 2020-2021 school year.

Bruno has been teaching at Venice for 21 years and was moved into the new Shop building on the top floor. 

He is overall happy to finally be settled in a room he knows he’s going to be in for a long time unlike his bungalow. 

“It’s nice being in a place I feel like I’m going to stay in for the rest of my teaching time,” he said.