Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Community celebrates new Lower Lake High School gym

District officials cut the ribbon dedicating the new Lower Lake High School gym on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. From left, Lower Lake High School Principal Jeff Dixon; school board member Hank Montgomery; project manager Harriet Rogers; school board members Carolynn Jarrett, Mary Silva, Anita Gordon and Herb Gura; and Lower Lake High School Athletic Director Marty Udy. Photo by Glen R. Erspamer Jr.



LOWER LAKE – On Tuesday evening, the Konocti Unified School District hosted a celebration of the new Lower Lake High School gym, a massive state-of-the-art facility that embodies the community's willingness to invest in a vision of better facilities for its children. {sidebar id=139}

The new building – which provides the largest indoor event space in the county – has been open to events since January, but Tuesday marked the gym's official dedication and ribbon-cutting.

District Board President Mary Silva wielded the ceremonial big pair of scissors as other board members held a ribbon in front of the main entrance.

The accomplishment inspired one board member, Carolynn Jarrett, to call Konocti Unified “the little district that could.”

Measure G, an $18 million bond voters passed with 71.6 percent approval in 2004, provided some of the funds for the $9.5 million gym, which officials said came in $750,000 under budget but took a little longer than expected to complete, with about 16 months between groundbreaking and it being open for use.

Cliff Lantz, who retired last year from his post as district assistant superintendent, said the district put together about $40 million in bond funding, modernization funds, developers fees, Clearlake redevelopment funds and state grant funds to carry out districtwide facilities improvements. The bonds were originally supposed to be sold in three rounds but the higher property assessments at the time allows them to sell the bonds in two sales.

Lantz, a member of the management team that helped guide the project in its initial stages, said those funds paid to remodel classrooms and multipurpose rooms at each of the district's school campuses – Lower Lake High didn't get a new multipurpose room because it got the new gym – and build new libraries at each school.

Lower Lake High's gym is the capstone in the series of projects.

Lantz said that $1 million still remains in the form of funds to be reimbursed by the state. When the district eventually receives that money, Lantz said the old Lower Lake High gym will be modernized to include a fitness room, and the school's old auto shop will be renovated and turned into a wrestling room.

During the ceremony, attended by about 250 people, Superintendent Dr. Bill MacDougall said the new gym is a testament to community involvement.




Superintendent Dr. Bill MacDougall said the gym was an example of the community working together. Photo by Glen R. Erspamer Jr.



“Last year I asked a group of students what they liked best about Lake County and Clearlake,” he said.

Their answer: “In Clearlake, we help our own.”

MacDougall thanked the district's board members, local dignitaries and leaders, parents and students for their work to make the gym a reality.

Silva told the crowd, “This is such a great day.”

In the five years since the district decided to build the gym, it's faced numerous obstacles, including recent budget cuts, she said.

“Our district and community chose to invest in the future of our schools,” said Silva, noting that it's amazing what can be accomplished when people work together.

Silva said the district's schools exist and thrive out of hope for a brighter future for the community's children.

Former Superintendent Dr. Louise Nan said that dreams, when brought out into the daylight, become visions.

She noted that Tuesday was the 81st anniversary of the dedication of Lower Lake High School.

Nan said the district's board started the project after deciding that the children deserved better than what they had.

“I love you Lower Lake,” she said. “Enjoy what you have.”




From left, Supervisor Jeff Smith, County Administrative Officer Kelly Cox and Supervisor Jim Comstock look on during the Lower Lake High School gym dedication ceremony on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. Photo by Glen R. Erspamer Jr.



Marty Udy, the school's athletic director, called the gym “something the kids can take pride in,” and said he's seeing them take care of the building.

It's also a point of pride, said Udy, to have a facility that is the envy of other schools.

Lower Lake High Principal Jeff Dixon – who called himself the luckiest principal on earth – noted the gym's use not just as an athletic facility but also as a great performance space, and the school's drama and music students proved Dixon right with several songs and skits. The school's jazz band even played a composition of Dixon's called “Play Ball,” to celebrate the building's sports use.




Music teacher Cydney Dixon leads the concert choir in one of its performances during the gym dedication ceremonies on Tuesday, April 14, 2009. Photo by Glen R. Erspamer Jr.



Lower Lake Elementary's “Confused Souls” band also rocked the house, with second grader Gabrielle Murray singing a solo and fifth grader and singer Megan Smith, 10, of Lower Lake leading the bad through numbers that included “Twist and Shout,” a song she suggested that “some of you might have heard of.”

After the ceremony, Associated Student Body members offered tours of the facility as the band continued to play on.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




The new plaque that will be featured at the gymnasium, which Emmalena Illia

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