New Pinacate Middle School Gym is Popular with Students

Perris City and school district officials celebrated the opening of a new $17.5 million gymnasium and library/administration building on the Pinacate Middle School Campus, work that enhances the school experience for 1,200 seventh and eighth-grade students.

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, City Councilwoman Joanne Evans and Jonathan Greenberg, superintendent of the Perris Union High School District attended the official dedication of the new facilities at the 26-year-old campus on A Street.

PUHSD Superintendent Jonathan Greenberg and Pinacate Middle School Principal Charles Newman speaking at the official dedication.PUHSD Superintendent Jonathan Greenberg and Pinacate Middle School Principal Charles Newman speaking at the official dedication.

Work on the 25,000-square-foot gym and 19,000-library/admin building began more than two years ago by PJHM Architects and was completed for the start of this school year. The new gym is twice as large as its predecessor, has adequate bleachers to seat the entire school population, includes a weight-room and fitness center and lockers for every student. This poster outside the school campus on A Street details improvements planned for Pinacate Middle School.

The City of Perris entered into a joint-use agreement with the school district that allows youth sports activities to take place at Pinacate after school and on weekends. The library/administration building includes counselor’s office, a staff resource room and plenty of tables for students to sit down in comfort while completing their homework. Construction for both projects resulted in part from passage in 2004 of Measure Z, a $46-million bond package approved in 2004.

The next phase of construction at Pinacate, already underway, calls for upgrading the main campus building with new classrooms, lunch facilities, a multi-purpose room, resources areas, new bathrooms and a new outdoor lunch shelter. Work on that phase is expected in time for the start of the 2013-2014 academic year.

Voters in district will decide Nov. 6 whether to approve another ballot measure that will fund construction to replace portable classrooms with a permanent two-story, 14-classroom building at Pinacate, along with planned improvements to Perris High School, construction of another middle-school in Perris and a new high school in Menifee.

Measure T would cost homeowners $30-per $100,000 of assessed valuation annually. It requires 55 percent approval. Part of the proposal calls for a citizen-oversight committee to monitor spending of Measure T monies.

Jonathan Greenberg, Perris Union High School District superintendent, said improving schools helps better prepare students for jobs in today’s workplace. “It puts them on a par with other students in the county and gives them the same opportunity to acquire the 21st Century skills to compete for 21st Century jobs,” Greenberg said. “It would be a shame not to finish the work at Pinacate or the upgrades at Perris High School.”

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch, accompanied by school principal Charles Newman, toured the gym, fitness center and new administration building prior to the official dedication. He came away impressed.

“The improvements to the school make a huge difference for Pinacate students, both in terms of academics, athletics and aesthetics,” he said. “It’s amazing what the school district has done with the money entrusted to them. They spent wisely to get the optimum benefit for the students, the taxpayers and the public.”

Eighth-grader Brandy Holland, a member of the Pinacate dance squad, says the new gym provides space needed for the team to bust all its moves. She’s also a big fan of the new library.

“The library is quiet and spacious,” said Brandy, 13.

Seventh-grader Jillian Menez, 12, agrees. Her older sisters attended Pinacate when the gym was tiny and the library overcrowded. Improvements mean she studies better and enjoys her days at the campus.

“The library is awesome,” she said. “It has so much more room. I can get my homework finished. I really like it.”

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Article by City Of Perris and Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer