On Friday, October 11th at 4:00PM, the City of Coral Gables Commission and Miami-Dade County Public Schools will hold a community meeting at Coral Gables Senior High School (450 Bird Road) to discuss the ongoing renovations of Coral Gables Senior High School. (SEE NOTICE).
Coral Gables Senior High School is the second oldest High School in Miami-Dade County and has been in need of major renovations for several years. (WATCH: Gables Inisder Story On Recent Groundbreaking). Miami-Dade County Public Schools originally allocated $11.2 million for the school’s renovation, well short of the funds necessary to bring the school to where it needs to be. Over the last couple of years, School Board Member Mari Tere Rojas and Coral Gables officials have worked to increase that amount to $26 million dollars. This will allow for demolishing of older buildings and the construction of a new building on the Riviera side of the campus, renovations to the original structure’s classrooms and replacement of the original chiller plant.
The campus, which features buildings that were built prior to the school’s opening in 1950, have endured some changes throughout the years, including air conditioning additions in the 1970s, which brought with it the removal of classroom windows. These windows will be brought back to bring natural light back to the classrooms. The new campus will also feature a large central courtyard area similar to those at colleges and universities.
On September 30th, Coral Gables Senior High School principal, Adolfo Costa, and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Administrative Director for Design and Sustainability, Victor Alonso, led a briefing and tour of the General Obligation Bond renovations of Coral Gables Senior High School.
In attendance were School Board Member Maritere Rojas, Coral Gables Commissioner Jorge L. Fors, Jr., Darrell Payne and June Thomson Morris of Friends of Gables High, Sam Joseph and Ariel Fernandez from the the City of Coral Gables’ School and Community Relations Committee, Coral Gables Senior High School PTSA President Jackie Gross-Kellogg, City Clerk Billy Urquia and representatives from the offices of the City Mayor, City Commission, City Manager and City Attorney.
The briefing and tour was arranged in order to provide all stakeholders with an update on the progress of the renovations.
“Our children’s learning environment plays a big role in the learning experience, and our City’s public education options are a key element of quality of life. That is why I have taken great interest in the mission to improve this fantastic academic institution in desperate need of renovation and visited twice in three months to discuss these plans and track progress. We are all very thankful to the School Board and our representative, Mari Tere Rojas, who was instrumental in securing funding for this critical project– and I am very excited to see that the first phase of construction is already underway. Of course, the $26 Million budget does not include the full scope of necessary renovations, but it does make clear that the School Board is very committed to the cause. The City of Coral Gables is too. I am not the only member of the Commission who has taken great interest in this issue. I believe all of my colleagues have shown that they regard our public education options as an asset and will continue to work towards the goal of making Coral Gables High a world-class school in all respects, not just academic. The future looks bright and there are a lot of great people working on this,” commented Coral Gables Commissioner Jorge L. Fors, Jr.
FRIENDS OF GABLES HIGH
A group that has been integral to the renovation process has been Friends of Gables High.
Founded by Cavalier alumni and parents, Friends of Gables High has been working to provide support to the school on numerous fronts, including community outreach, assisting students through school clubs, and the school’s renovation.
The organization has been holding fundraisers and is actively accepting donations on its website, having raised over $50,000 for assistance with these projects.
“I’m really excited to see the construction starting at Gables High – the plans for the renovation are focused on creating a true college-like campus that will dramatically improve the opportunities for learning at the school,” said Darrell Payne of Friends of Gables High. “This is truly a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It’s critically important for every member of Cavalier Nation, and any resident of Coral Gables that cares about education, to learn about the ongoing $26 million dollar renovation, and to help support efforts to ensure the renovation is complete and comprehensive. Coral Gables deserves a 21-century high school campus that reflects the exceptional academics and achievement at Gables High, and becomes another part of the tradition of beautiful buildings in the City of Coral Gables,” he added.