At their July 14 meeting, members of the Los Banos School Board reviewed and approved new construction projects for the district and discussed the impact of the Expanded Learning Program on students. 

Superintendent Dr. Mark Marshall reported that at Henry Miller Elementary a parking lot will be created in the upcoming year. Marshall noted that the completion of this project will give staff their own place to park, rather than parking in the surrounding neighborhoods, which had been done for years. 

Later in the meeting, the board approved and awarded a contract to McElvany Inc. to construct the $925,000 parking lot, including fencing and lighting. 

Marshall then provided an update on the nearly completed science wing that was added to Pacheco High School. This project was built on a vacant area on campus that has existed since the school’s completion in 2010. 

“You have a budget to build a school and sometimes you don’t have enough money to complete a project, so you have to take out certain parts,” Marshall explained.

“Thanks to the support of taxpayers in our community, we’re able to add to the science wing at Pacheco High School.” The new building will accommodate approximately 200 students. 

The last project Marshall discussed was an addition to the Loftin Stadium. The pool at Loftin Stadium was condemned several years ago, so the pool and its corresponding building were demolished, leaving an empty space for the next project. 

“That building will have team rooms, a snack bar, public restrooms, and such,” Marshall said about the Loftin Stadium project. “There’s more to come, but we just wanted to give an update on things that we have been working on.” 

The Board approved a notice of intent to contract BMY Construction Group for the new concessions, restroom, and team buildings (Phase I) at Loftin Stadium for $6.9 million later in the meeting. 

“It’s going to be a great addition to the Loftin Stadium. Can’t wait to see it,” said Board President Anthony Parreira. 

During his report to the board, LEAP (Learning Education Activities Program) Supervisor Zach Cruz gave an overview of last school year’s Expanded Learning Program, previously called After School Program. 

Cruz explained the reasoning for the name change: “Instead of calling it an afterschool – after thought – program, it’s an Expanded Learning Program because we know that learning and social-emotional support happens during after-school hours, before school hours, and in the summer months.” 

Continuing, Cruz discussed the impact Youth Voice and Leadership is having on students’ lives. “Youth Voice and Leadership is where we take seriously the students’ input on what they want to see happen,” Cruz said. 

“For example, at Mercy Springs they wanted to do a carnival festival and we made it happen.” At this festival, students were in charge of prizes. 

“We also created a junior high snack shack where students were in charge of offering snacks at sporting events and all the proceeds went to their student store, where a student can earn sporting equipment or school [supplies],” Cruz said. 

Cruz shared that The Youth Mentoring Club started at the Los Banos Junior High because of Youth Voice and Leadership. Students in this club that wanted to visit their old elementary schools were able to facilitate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning with elementary students through STEM labs. 

School Board Member Margaret Benton inquired about a STEAM program (STEM with added Art). Cruz responded that a STEAM program is being done at the elementary schools, and that funds will permit the same program at the Los Banos Junior High. Cruz noted that he wants to expand on arts and music in the upcoming year.  The board unanimously approved the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program Plan (ELO-P), which outlined how serviced will be expanded for students in the upcoming school year and in the future.