Measure I funds opportunities for students


Taylor Griggs/Prowler

Measure I is a bond measure that was voted on in 2014, providing the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) with $197,000,000. The purpose of the money is “providing safe, well-maintained classrooms, repairing/replacing electrical, plumbing, and roofing systems, as well as repairing, constructing, acquiring, and equipping sites/facilities, and improving safety/security,” as stated by CVUSD.
The money was allocated differently among all 31 CVUSD schools, with each conventional high school receiving $17.5 million. Both Thousand Oaks High School and Westlake High School have modernized their science programs with Measure I funds. However, NPHS’s science program improvements have experienced delays due to price increases. Nevertheless, CVUSD and NPHS have now charted a new path for revamping their science program with the complete redesign of the D building.
Although no major construction projects have begun at NPHS, there have been other smaller projects funded by Measure I contributions, some of which include reroofing the Performing Arts Center [PAC] and the addition of the school’s first softball field.
The PAC, a building that hosts many musicals, plays, events and showcases, is central to the community of Newbury Park. The theater director at NPHS, Marilyn Strange, has coordinated many theatrical performances that took place in said PAC. Strange explained the necessity of its upkeep. “Because it is a shared facility with so many events being hosted there, regular upkeep for the facility is a regular requirement,” Strange said. Aside from routine maintenance, Strange highlighted the improvements made to the PAC’s roof via measure I funding. “The new roof allows for performances to continue to run smoothly for all of the users, [so they can] put on fantastic [shows] for the community,” Strange said.
Before a softball field was constructed on NPHS soil, the team practiced at neighboring Borchard Community Park. Varsity softball coach, Steve Kennedy, has security in the new softball diamond which has kept his team connected to the school and independent of Conejo Recreation and Parks. “[Before the new field], we were at the mercy of [CRPD] as far as control of the field,” Kennedy said. Before the switch, the girls walked to the park every day and coaches had to set up temporary scoreboards, but now, they have their own place to practice. With their own field, Varsity players are now able to add a touch of their personalities to the dugout, with designated cubbies to make the space their own. “[There is] pride involved with […] having your own facility,” Kennedy said.

On-Campus Changes

Remodel – With NPHS tending to have classes filled with around 30 students, the current size of Ms. Goodwin’s science classroom, C4, demonstrates the need for more spacing accommodations. This issue continues to affect numerous science classrooms around campus. “Currently, our classrooms are smaller than the ones that Westlake and Thousand Oaks have, so we want to get those back up to either the same or even a little bit more. So we’re almost looking at, in some cases, almost a 25% upgrade in the size of the rooms.” Lepire said. Cameron Winick//Prowler

Landscape – Replacing the grass in the quad with artificial turf is a proposed way to spend Measure I money on school improvements. Lindsay Freedman, senior, commented on the suggested change. “[Turf is] visually appealing, I think it makes our school look a little bit nicer,” Freedman said. Over 75 percent of students surveyed disagreed about the proposed switch. Cameron Winick//Prowler

Blueprint – The new and improved blueprint of the bathroom was introduced by CVUSD Director of Planning and Construction, Tim McCabe, “You’ll have privacy because it’ll have a [Partition] You’ll go in there and use the toilet. You’ll have a common sink in the middle. The front will be open with a security grill almost like what you’d see in a mall so campus supervisors can see what’s going on,” McCabe said. Photo Courtesy of CVUSD

Although enhancements such as repainting buildings and expanding the culinary arts program have been made, the bulk of NPHS’s Measure-I funds have not yet been used for any major construction projects. Principal, Steve Lepire, revealed these funds have been allocated to the modernization of the school’s science program.
“[We will] renovate all of our science classrooms. There was initially a conversation about putting a building […] behind the pool,” Lepire said. Unfortunately, this plan could not come to fruition due to its escalating cost.
Dr. Victor Hayek, Deputy Superintendent of Business Services for CVUSD, elaborated on the change of plans. “From the time we started planning it to where we are now, costs have increased close to 35%. What was a 10-11 million dollar project is now a 16-17 million dollar project and we don’t have enough money to do that […] We could do the same thing without building a new building by updating all the existing science labs, making them as if they were brand new,” Hayek said.
Although the district has yet to secure official approval for this project, NPHS administration hopes construction will begin in the summer of 2024. “The goal would be to start construction literally the day after school gets out,” Lepire said. The proposed project entails a comprehensive transformation of the D building. “Everything inside will be gutted down to the studs and rebuilt. […] everything will be brand new. We did the same thing at Thousand Oaks High School. We started last year and finished it this summer,” Hayek said.
In the midst of significant changes to the development of the science block, Lepire advocates for exploring alternative projects with excess funds. “It would free us up to look at some other projects like upgrading the appearance of the quad, looking at renovating the locker rooms,” Lepire said.
CVUSD Director of Planning and Construction, Tim McCabe, conceptualized a stacking plan for these proposed additions. McCabe shared some of these plans, outlining features for CVUSD stakeholders. “We want to put in some artificial turf in the planters… When [the students are] all standing there socializing you can’t get anything to grow, the grass is always dead, so we’ll just put our own artificial turf in,” McCabe said.
Additionally, the district is contemplating upgrading the stage in the middle of the quad. “What if we put a structure on top [of the stage] for some shade, put in some trusses so you can hang speakers and lights from it and you can do performances and also have a big video screen in the back?” McCabe said.
Another project NPHS is undertaking is the renovation of the locker rooms. Along with the remake of the general locker rooms, the project will also include exclusive varsity locker rooms. “ [We’re creating] two team rooms on the backside of [the locker room] with their own showers and toilets. So teams playing a varsity sport could go in there, do their showers, change afterward, and have team meetings there,” McCabe said.
While these proposed features are still under consideration, CVUSD recently approved the addition of an all-access bathroom to the A building set for construction to begin in February of 2024. The district clarified the distinction between the existing gender-neutral bathroom and the new all-access bathroom. “The terms ‘gender-neutral’ and ‘all-access’ are interchangeable. […]Where you may see a difference is ‘gender-neutral’ used in a bathroom that is for one user at a time, while ‘all-access’ would be for bathrooms that can accommodate multiple students at one time (with privacy stalls and common wash sinks),” Hayek said.
“I think some people might object to it, but in the long run, I think once it’s open and available, like anything, I think it’s just, it’s something new that we add to the school […] our job is to make sure that it’s a safe and clean environment for everybody,” Lepire said. Additionally, Lepire added that certain measures will potentially be taken to monitor the bathrooms in general. “One of the things that we’re looking at is a different bathroom pass. […] Westlake High School [uses] the five star system […] to track when students come in and out, as opposed to a paper copy […], so we’re gonna have some teachers pilot that,” Lepire said.
The five-star student system is an online education administration software that tracks student’s medical information, behavior patterns and attendance. It also includes online hall passes, giving NPHS teachers and administration full control over the amount of restroom breaks, and their allotted duration for each individual student.
McCabe offered insight into the approved bathroom plans. “In the A building, [there] are boys and girls [bathrooms] right next to each other. We’re going to combine them and build floor-to-ceiling toilet partitions and create an all-access restroom,” McCabe said.

Student Opinions

Is it the right decision for the school to build an all-access bathroom?

Nathan Fox/Prowler






A Prowler survey was conducted with 239 students on campus asking “Do you believe it is the right decision for the school to build an all-access bathroom?” The results ended with 52.8% of students disagreeing with the decision and 47.2 % of students being in favor of the addition.
Most students feel the idea of an all-access bathroom is a conceptually good idea, but could be taken advantage of. Charlotte Norris, sophomore, believes it could be uncomfortable for some, “But I think it’s still important to have access like that,” Norris said. While Kyle O’Leary, senior, feels that he would not personally use the bathroom, “I think for some people it could be beneficial not to limit them to having to choose where they go to the bathroom,” O’Leary said. However, some students feel that such bathrooms may be unnecessary. Grant Snyder, junior, thinks gender bathrooms should be kept separate. “I know we’re breaking barriers between genders, and equality is getting higher, but I just think that’s something that should remain the same,” Snyder said.


Should the school replace the grass in the quad with artificial grass?

Nathan Fox/Prowler






In another prowler survey with 239 participants asking students “Do you believe the school should replace the grass in the quad with artificial grass?” There was a super majority of 75.7% of students who disagreed with this idea CVUSD has brought up.
Students are generally against the idea of replacing real grass with artificial grass, but some students can see how it could be environmentally or aesthetically beneficial by making the campus look nicer. Aleesa Iqbal, junior, feels that artificial grass should be placed in parts of the campus that should look put-together. “I can see certain areas where it would make sense to put turf like (…) the front office,” Iqbal said. A main concern with artificial grass, however, is the conditions of the turf in the heat. “I feel like my problem with artificial grass is that [it] gets really hot, and especially like after March [when] it starts to warm up,” Snyder said.


Ideas for Improvements

Nathan Fox/Prowler

According to a third survey asking students which two improvements out of nine options they would like to see on campus, the top two choices were more outdoor seating with 55.6 percent of the 239 participants’ votes and improvements to the gendered bathrooms with 41 percent.
During lunch and nutrition, students are either walking around, standing, or looking for a place to sit. While some prefer to sit on the ground, many others prefer a table. Alison Taggart, freshman, agrees that the funding should go toward more tables in the quad and around campus. “[My friends and I] are always looking for a table,” Taggart said.
Many students try to use the bathroom during breaks instead of during class. However, with the lines and the absence of items like soap from the gendered bathrooms, students believe the funding should be used to improve the condition of the bathrooms and even build new ones. Iqbal expressed the need for improvements to the bathroom system. “I feel like we have so much funding for other things, whether it be for sports or just […] generalized things on campus. I feel like we should put more effort into the sanitary side of our school,” Iqbal said.
Other improvements students believe would be beneficial are renovating the performing arts center (PAC) and improving the mobile classrooms. Currently, the equipment used in the PAC and the building itself are rundown and hard to work with. “I definitely think it would be really useful to have more money for the performing arts center so we could keep really expensive equipment intact,” Norris said.
Special education and strings classes are just two of many courses with mobile classrooms. “I’m in unified sports, […] so I think [permanent classrooms could] improve stuff for them,” Taggart said. Improvements to the strings classroom is also something many students have mentioned in the survey. Mia Marshall, freshman, expressed that issues with lights and air conditioning in the mobile classroom have affected the class. “We’ve had to move into [the] student cafeteria and it takes away our practice time for our concerts,” Marshall said.


Neighboring Schools


Class is in session – A teacher at Thousand Oaks High School uses the school’s anatomage table during a lesson. The school’s principal, Dr. Eric Bergmann, has said that this new technology presents a very exciting new opportunity. Andrew Fletcher/With Permission

Westlake High School [WHS] has used Measure I funds to construct a $14 million 26,103 square foot STEM, [Science Technology, engineering, and Math] building.
Jason Branham, Principal of Westlake High School, commented on the new edition, “Our new STEM building is great and really serves our students in a great way daily,” Branham said. Staff and faculty were joined in tandem with students in support of the complete building. According to Branham, “[Westlake’s] students have responded positively to the new learning environment as the old classrooms were much smaller and did not provide the needed space for lab-type activities,” Branham said. With the advanced technology it was able to purchase using the funds that it received from Measure I, Westlake High School was able to completely reshape the classroom experience for its students.
Along with the new technology used by students for learning was not the only manner in which Westlake used the grant money to improve the quality of education that its students received. “The flexible learning environments through the moveable furniture, storage options, connected common prep rooms for teachers and general space for learning have been terrific,” Branham said.
The science department at Thousand Oaks High School [TOHS], just like its Westlake counterpart, was able to purchase new, cutting-edge equipment to enhance learning opportunities for its students. Due to the grant money allocated to them, Thousand Oaks High School was able to acquire an Anatomage Table. This unique device allows students to virtually dissect humans in addition to a number of animal specimens, all of which are designed to be incredibly lifelike. The table also allows students to complete a number of chemistry, physics and forensic science labs in addition to anatomy. This has allowed students to conduct labs with a degree of accuracy that is stunning.
The new table presents a very wide array of new learning opportunities for both students and staff. According to the principal of Thousand Oaks High School, Dr. Eric Bergmann, “No school in CVUSD has ever had anything like this. It does not compare to anything any CVUSD school has ever had. There are only a handful of other high schools that have one. We are extremely excited about the benefits the table will bring to our teachers and students.” This new equipment came roughly a year after the administration of Thousand Oaks High School decided that they needed to improve their science gear. “We decided to upgrade all science classes on campus early in the 2022-2023 school year and work was completed in the summer of 2023,” Bergmann said.