Eagle Rock High School Construction Update

by Tyrell Danao

Eagle Rock High School is currently under construction  in the auditorium and South Gym. Because of the construction, the boys and girls basketball team played their home games at the Yosemite Recreation Center. School concerts such as the Winter Showcase were held at the North Gym.  But what exactly is being worked on?

For the past year, Eagle Rock High School has been going through a Seismic Retrofit project. This project is being done to modify the school buildings, making them more earthquake resistant. One third of it has already been completed in the North Gym. Students and staff were welcomed to the 2018-19 school year with a more safe and refurbished North Gym that included: a brand new wooden floor, new lighting, replaced air conditioning, and new lockers. According to administrator, Derek Steinorth, similar upgrades will be made in the South Gym and the auditorium.

Since the end of the 2017-18 school year, the signature South Gym, home to the boys and girls basketball teams, has been closed in the process for this $15 million Seismic retrofit Project. In this project, the objective is to follow the guidelines within seismic code requirements and to implement Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements by repairing or replacing deteriorated pavement along the path of travel. A brand new walkway to the band room is almost completed. The ADA improvements, according to the LAUSD Office of Environmental Health and Safety, are legal requirements mandated by the Division of State Architect. Bathrooms and showers are also going to be upgraded upgraded. For the structure itself, there will be soil grouting at the foundation, replacement to the existing roof sheathing, reinforcing the wood shear wall, reinforcing the roof diagram with cross ties and drag struts, and reinforcing existing steel truss members to meet today's seismic requirements. Just like the North Gym, students will have something to look forward to. “We will be getting a new floor in the gym, replacing the 50+ year old floor, air conditioning which we’ve never had, and hopefully a new ceiling and lights.”, states administrator Derek Steinorth when asked how the construction will benefit the students. Students will no longer be experiencing the sweltering heat when playing basketball in the summer months.

One of the many hardworking construction workers known as “Cholo” gave his perspective into what is being done. “Cholo” , being in construction for 10 years, says they are currently doing compaction grounding. Compaction grounding is a grouting technique that displaces and densifies loose granular soils, reinforces fine grained soils, and stabilizes sinkholes. This is done when an injection pipe is inserted to a certain depth. When the pipe is slowly removed, the grout (a cement filler) is injected into the soil. When asked about how long this project will last, he estimated it to last “about a year.” When asked why it was taking a long time, he stood next to his boss with his hard hat on and cement on his pants saying that, “It’s a process.”

As we all know, California is affected by earthquakes. . Even though the district is spending a significant amount of money to make sure the school buildings are safer, it is also important to know how to prepare for one. When asked if the school is ready for the “big one,”Steinorth said “Our level of preparedness needs to be improved. Earthquakes aren’t going away anytime soon and we need to be prepared because it can happen anytime.”

Overall, Eagle Rock High School, like the many schools located in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is composed of old buildings on its campus. Changes have to be made on old structures before they start crumbling down, and the last thing we would want in Eagle Rock High School is worn out, dilapidated school buildings. When construction is done, students and staff will be looking forward to a more safe and modernized South Gym and auditorium.