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$40 million project could unite International Studies Learning Center campuses

Vanessa Romo | June 5, 2015

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South East Middle School

Southeast Middle School

Shuttling teachers between two campuses requires impeccable organization and skillful time management, and Guillermina Jauregui can’t wait for the day when she won’t have to do either anymore.

That day could come at some point in 2019 if the LA Unified School Board decides next week to approve a new construction project to expand the International Studies Learning Center, one of three high schools housed on the Legacy High School site.

Jauregui is principal of the 6-12 grade span school that is currently split between two locations — high school students attend classes at the Legacy facilities while middle school pupils are housed in bungalows at Southeast Middle School. Both are in South Gate but are separated by three miles.

“It has been difficult,” Jauregui told LA School Report who says she makes the drive back and forth everyday.

One of the school’s primary focusses is on language. International Studies offers Mandarin, Japanese, French, and Spanish programs. But providing access to younger students has been limited since the middle and high schools were split up a few years ago. 

Now, the high school language instructors lead full programs for older students then race over to the middle school to offer semester-long “introductory” courses.

The new building project would add a 45,000 square foot building to the existing complex. That includes 16 classrooms, an administration area, a lunch shelter and lunchroom, restrooms, outdoor basketball and volleyball courts, a parking lot expansion and a multi-purpose room/gymnasium.

“I am eager to get this proposed project in front of my colleagues for a vote,” Board Member Bennett Kayser said in statement today.

“It will bring our International Studies Learning Center students together on one campus and address overcrowding at one of the largest middle schools in the district,” Kayser said, adding that it is  “a productive win for everyone involved.”

Superintendent Ramon Cortines also expressed his support for the $40 million project which will be funded by bond dollars in the district’s School Upgrade Program.

“I have spent a considerable amount of time working on facilities-related items and have identified specific issues that I would like to address,” Cortines wrote today. “This new addition is one of them, and I believe it will have a significant impact on our students in the Southeast, as well as the overall long-term stability of this district.”

In addition to the new building for International Studies, the district will also remove portable classrooms at South Gate Middle School by 2021. Further site improvements there are expected to be completed in 2022.

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