By Desiree Leong & Kevin Chen, Clarion Staff
Over the past months, many repairs and renovations have improved the interior and exterior of Kennedy’s campus, including the main gym, concrete throughways, and overall landscaping. It’s not just maintenance, however; some changes are bringing Kennedy into compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This has come about as the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) has been working to greatly improve the school.
As many Kennedy’s students know, the gym was badly flooded last winter, forcing the relocation of practices, rallies, and other events. Principal David Van Natten stated in a press conference at the Clarion last September that the insurance claim had risen from a cost of $850,000 to above $1 million. Work includes putting in new drains and enlarging the existing drains, as well as bringing in new bleachers. The new gym floor will be suspended approximately a quarter-inch higher, allowing for hot air to be blown underneath to remove any water if it ever gets in again.
Kennedy also underwent some developments near the V-wing starting last June, renovating the nearby cafeteria and bike racks and leaving casts of construction covering the entrance of the school. At one point, inspectors discovered that cement poured at the front of the school and the gym corridor failed to meet district standards, and had to be replaced. This extended the process as more repairs and equipment remained on campus.
Beyond the simple reason of renovating, there’s a deeper meaning for this change: compliance with OSHA and the ADA. These policies require certain elements be added to public areas (schools, parks, restaurants, etc.) to ensure greater ease of mobility for people with disabilities. As such, ramps and additional railing will likely be provided to assist students, staff, and visitors with disabilities.
In addition to these repairs, Kennedy’s landscaping along both Florin Road and Gloria Drive has been greatly altered as well. Gone are the several ivy bushes and large trees that towered over the school (and sometimes provided cover on rainy days). They’re believed to have been removed due to housing rats and other unwanted critters according to Principal Van Natten. The areas that once contained shrubbery are now covered with dark brown wood chips.
All the changes have improved Kennedy, making the school better for both current and future students. They will make campus more friendly to those who are disabled, present a newer gym for the physical education classes, spirit rallies, and sports teams, and provide for a more sanitary learning environment overall.