Going Strong: Rise of TL’s New Gym


Eli Baker

We’ve all seen the construction around TL’s campus; work on the school has been going on since 2018. Principal Dunlap told The Voice that the “first phase” of construction, the Innovation Hub and Student Commons, has been completed. The second phase involves the erection of a new gymnasium and an entirely new, landscaped frontage. Originally, it also included repainting the older buildings, but that was moved to the first phase and was completed late last year. The second phase is expected to be completed by January of 2023.

How did this all happen? The construction has affected everyone from students, to staff, to neighbors. What needed to occur to allow such a major revamp? 

Principal Dunlap said that firstly, the school district was granted $160 million from a voted-upon bond measure. The district is also looking to potentially obtain yet another bond measure to continue to assemble large projects. However, in order to actually spend that money, a design team composed of students, families, and staff needs to approve whatever project is being proposed to be built. “You can’t just go and spend the money on anything,” said Dunlap. “It has to actually be tied to the initiatives that were shared in the original bond.”

Each structure had to have its own meeting, on top of obtaining board approval, and neighbors were contacted to ensure they knew what was going on. “We put flyers all over. Every single house, I went over the summer and was walking around putting up [the flyers] so people knew what we’re doing,” Dunlap explained. “I’m putting up regular principal’s updates to our families about all of this as well, in fact I’m working on one right now,” she continued, typing on her laptop.

“[School life] has been tremendously affected.” When the first phase of construction began, multiple classes had to be relocated from the building that was to be replaced with what is now the Student Commons. She said that the benefits of the new buildings were absolutely worth whatever inconveniences might arise from them. 

Ms. Dunlap expanded, noting that some design choices made for a “big adjustment,” however. The more modern architecture of the Student Commons has apparently been criticized by some for its open design due to safety concerns in, for example, an active shooter situation. “We tried to explain that that’s how buildings are designed these days (…) we have to build for teaching and learning, we can’t just build for a disaster,” Dunlap countered.

Another potential issue that the next phase of construction will be addressing is regarding the ease of navigation around campus. Signage “similar to a college campus” is soon to be posted around TL, marking where important locations like the Office, College and Career Center, and counselors are located.

On the scheduling side of things, construction is ahead of time. “The Innovation Hub got done about a month ahead of schedule, the Student Commons was 100% on time, we’re totally meeting our timeline on the gym” Dunlap remarked. 

Lastly, Principal Dunlap wanted to thank the students of TL for their resilience and understanding during these unconventional few years in our school’s history. “It’s so inconvenient, and the kids have been amazing. (…) Everyone likes to complain, and I gotta be honest I’m not hearing students complaining to me on a daily basis, so that’s really nice and I want to say thanks to everyone.”