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Guest commentary - Ali Kiafar

August 11, 2001

The excitement that started four years ago -- when Burbank Unified

School District, helped by passage of the local bond, began the

modernization and reconstruction of all of our school facilities -- has

reached a new dimension.

As the structures of the new buildings are taking shape at Burbank and

John Burroughs high schools, many residents of Burbank, who drive by the

two schools or watch the school board meetings, have become very

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interested in seeing these projects progress.

As the person in charge of the district's modernization and

reconstruction program, I would like to update the Burbank community on

the scope, schedules and activities relative to construction of the new

high schools. This column, the first of two on these exciting projects,

is about the progress of the Burbank High School project. The second will

be dedicated to the John Burroughs High School project.

The construction work at both Burbank and John Burroughs high schools

is progressing very well. Costing approximately $100 million, these

projects started about three months ago and will take about 3 1/2 years

to complete.

Burbank High's first phase will cost $29 million and will include a

prominent new entrance to the campus, which will be adjacent to the new

administrative offices and connected to the library by a two-story

classroom wing. This section of the project is along Third Street,

continuing on to Harvard Road.

All of the earthwork, underground utility lines and footings are

complete at this point. The steel structure for the administrative

offices is already erected, and the roof structure formed. The main

structure of the entry element is also up. This portion of the project is

scheduled for completion by the summer of next year. This means that the

staff will be able to use their beautiful new offices, and the students

may enjoy the wonderful new library as early as September 2002.

Another section is the classroom building that will be two stories on

one side and three stories on the other, to respond to the site's grade

elevations. Ending with a large cafeteria and kitchen facilities, this

building will be parallel to Third Street, forming a magnificent interior

quad along with the other buildings.

The quad will be utilized for a variety of purposes, such as eating,

socializing and rallies. This building's massive retaining wall and

earthwork, the underground utility lines and footings are all completed

with the steel structure expected to begin in early August. The entire

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