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Construction & Measure E: Horner Middle School Showcase
Posted 10/6/22
exterior of horner campusJohn M. Horner Middle School with Mission Peak in the distance

When John M. Horner Middle School staff welcomed the inaugural class of 6th grade students in the 2020-21 school year, it happened in virtual spaces during distance learning as construction crews occupied their campus.

choir singing on stageThe Horner Middle School Advanced Choir, led by Music Director Paul Lorigan, performed the national anthem at the Horner Middle School Showcase

“During our first year of opening three years ago, we were in distance learning, and the hallways were unfortunately quiet and not filled with eager learners. While the office staff was happy to occupy the building, it wasn’t quite the same without our students. Today we can proudly say that the halls are no longer quiet, and that they are filled with the futures of tomorrow,” said Principal Cindy Hicks-Rodriguez. 

All Horner students in grades 6, 7 and 8 came together for the first time in August 2021, when they returned for in-person instruction and found a campus transformed. While students had been in virtual learning spaces, work was completed on state-of-the-art facilities, including three new buildings with classrooms, science labs, a library, a multipurpose room, a new kitchen and administrative spaces. Campus upgrades also included a new outdoor amphitheater and a new track and field area with soccer fields, pickleball courts, basketball courts and a softball field.

student speaking at podium with choir in backgroundHorner Associated Student Body President Jay Bhimani speaking at the Campus Showcase

“COVID hit my first year at Horner, so I had no idea what to expect about the new campus. When I was told that I was going back to in-person learning, I got super excited to finally be in a classroom surrounded by friends. My sister told me how lucky I was to go back to Horner and enjoy the new buildings, but I didn’t fully appreciate this until I was actually on campus and saw how nice the new construction was,” said Horner Associated Student Body President Jay Bhimani. 

Unfortunately, COVID concerns and social distancing considerations meant that visitors couldn’t view the campus improvements as students returned to campus. 

student handing out programs with horner mascotHorner Associated Student Body leader and mascot handing out programs at the Campus Showcase

“As we returned last year and welcomed students back to our campus, we did so with many restrictions, including trying to limit the outside population from being on campus. Unfortunately, that hindered our ability to give this campus the ribbon cutting it deserved. But we are here now,” said FUSD Superintendent CJ Cammack on September 19, 2022, as Horner Middle School hosted a Campus Showcase to provide members of the public an opportunity to tour the site and to acknowledge the investment of time and resources that went into the middle school conversion project. 

Horner was the second junior high in FUSD to transition to a middle school, expanding from serving grades 7 and 8 to grades 6, 7 and 8. This is a long-term goal for FUSD, laid out in the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) adopted by the Board of Education in January 2014, which included a recommendation that FUSD increase capacity at its junior highs, converting each to a middle school.

group of staff and dignitaries in gymnasiumHorner staff and dignitaries at the Campus Showcase

The work to achieve this goal was made possible when the voters of Fremont approved the Measure E general obligation bond initiative to upgrade and repair neighborhood schools in June 2014. Later that year, FUSD’s Board approved an implementation plan for the first Bond projects, including the Horner Middle School Conversion, and the groundbreaking took place in January 2018. 

Work continues based on that LRFP and funded by the Measure E Bond; the remaining three junior highs are undergoing construction now to serve an additional grade level, with construction expected to be completed in Summer 2023. 

FUSD is updating its LRFP now, with staff and community members reviewing current needs and planning for the future of FUSD. The importance and impact of this work and long-term planning can be seen at Horner. 

“This is an incredible example of everything that went into today, from the construction, from the community’s involvement and support with Measure E, the Long Range Facilities Plan which launched this transition, and everything we did to get through the pandemic to bring our staff and our students back last year, and to see them continue to thrive this year,” said Cammack at the Showcase. 

outdoor amphitheater areaAmphitheater area on Horner campus

“We have new classrooms, and the new buildings. We have a new gym and a new locker room, and most importantly, a new Wellness Center, which is crucial after COVID. The new construction was also very, very nice for we got a brand new amphitheater where ASB can host school-wide activities like musical chairs. Attending in person on this new campus makes me feel very, very fortunate and proud to be a Hornet,” said Bhimani to the audience at the Showcase. 

The school currently serves over 1,500 students in grades 6 to 8 in the Irvington High School attendance area, and has capacity to serve approximately 1,800 students at its Irvington Avenue campus. 

“Our students are the heartbeat of the campus, and they are the reason we do our work. They are the reason this facility is here. And the students are the reason the community supported this project with Measure E,” said Cammack. 

group of students posing in gymnasium group of students posing in gymnasiumHorner Associated Student Body leaders led tours of their campus at the September 19, 2022 Campus Showcase

 

Click here to view campus and construction photos, and to find more information about the Horner Middle School construction project.

 

 


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