Engineering Technology building currently being constructed

New building will provide more work space for future engineering students

Construction+is+currently+taking+place+at+Clark%27s+campus+in+hopes+of+having+a+new+building+by+Spring+2022.

Project Manager, Jeff Bohn

Construction is currently taking place at Clark’s campus in hopes of having a new building by Spring 2022.

Emili Cruz Sosa, Content Editor

North of the 6000 building currently lies a big hole in the ground with a pile of dirt sitting next to it. A year from now, the Clark engineering department hopes that there will be a 7000 building right at the center of all this. This 7000 building will house the very first Clark Robotics practice field as well as other places where future engineering students can collaborate by using new tools and skills to complete different types of projects. 

Back in April 2011, Doug Dall, the principal of Clark at the time, had a vision to construct a new building as part of Clark’s campus in order to support classes that were part of the Career Technical Education program (CTE). Dall wanted to create a safe space for students who were interested in programs that tied into the school’s emphasis on the technology branch of teaching. Almost a decade later, Dall’s vision has finally come to fruition with the building currently being under construction. 

Ever since Clark was first built back in 1962, the only major renovation that it has undergone was a $20 million renovation in 1998. After GUSD spent millions of dollars renovating the campus, it hasn’t had any new construction. According to David Black, the engineering and robotics teacher at Clark, during the 1998 renovation, the 6000 building that was constructed specifically for the CTE programs is where “the money ran out,” which is part of the reason why Clark hasn’t gone under any other major improvements until now.

In 2011, Clark’s engineering, manufacturing and robotics programs started to grow significantly larger and students were in need of additional space to work. The school administration decided that in order for there to be enough space, specific rooms in the 6000 building had to be transformed into laboratories where multiple students could work on their projects. That is when Room 6302 was turned into an advanced engineering and manufacturing lab. 

As the years went by, more and more equipment was added into the lab until there wasn’t enough room to accommodate both the equipment and the students. That is when, the engineering department decided to occupy a maintenance garage that was located on the north of the 6302 lab. Once that garage space was filled, a cargo container located at the back of the school was occupied, followed by two and then three. When the department realized that a fourth cargo container was needed, it became clear that the program needed more space. 

“Although our current engineering and manufacturing lab may appear big to some, what many people don’t realize is that there’s nowhere to do full class instruction,” Black said. “It was a significant burden to manage, but we did it. Today, with class sizes being twice the size they were when I started teaching 11 years ago, it’s just not a sustainable plan to have so many people in such a crowded space.”

While Clark kept requesting that the district help fund the project, it was pushed back a considerable amount of time since other district needs took higher priority. Finally, in the fall of 2018, Black assisted in preparing a $3 million grant application through the state of  California Career Technical Education Facilities Program (CTEFP). In May 2019, Clark was awarded the $3 million grant and the concept of constructing a new building for the  Engineering Technology programs was finally coming alive. 

“My friends on Team 696 have told me about the long hours that they would put into constructing a practice field in the gym just for it to have to be taken down before school started,” said senior Nikita Bardash. “I am glad that Clark is finally constructing a new building that will hopefully provide a space where future Team 696 members can work on their cool projects.”

Construction for the 7000 building began during late April and will continue through the summer months. According to Dr. Brian Landisi, the assistant principal at Clark, no students or teachers will be impacted by the construction, and the building will most likely be completed by spring of 2022.