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La Tijera K-8 SchoolA cross-section of the crowd: city, county, state elected officials, residents and invited guests were present(L to R) Bd. Mbr. Arnold Butler, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Mayor James T. Butts, Mervym M. Dymally, Dr. Johnny Young, Supt. Gary McHenry, and Councilman Ralph Franklin Photo Credits: MALCOLM ALIGrand Opening of state-of-the-art La Tijera K-8 School is a flagship of the school district and a representation of what is yet to come.Last Saturday, the Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) very proudly hosted the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the recently-completed La Tijera K-8 School in the school's gymnasium, on the campus of the state-of-the-art structure in North Inglewood.Hundreds of community residents, school faculty, staff and students, along with a broad cross-section of elected officials and their representatives, were greeted with green-and-white balloons as they entered the palm-tree-lined entrance to the school's parking area, for the long-awaited opening of a school that IUSD had promised years ago and was now delivering."This is a very special day for the community, for the citizens of Inglewood, and the 300 students who have already enrolled in this state-of-the-art school," IUSD Board President Dr. Johnny Young said. "It is the proudest moment I have had in the 39 years I have been associated with the Inglewood School District, and I am very proud that we were able to deliver on our promise."The La Tijera K-8 school sits on a triangular, seven-acre sloping site on a major arterial street on the border of both Inglewood and the city of Los Angeles. The 85,800 square feet design features a campus on two grade levels with ramps, steps, and elevators serving three levels. The layered cladding of the school buildings provides covered walkways, and thermal and acoustic protection from perimetered streets. Its environmentally-friendly design strategy achieved the goals of the Collaborative for the High Performance Schools (CHPS) program, which will increase its long-term building performance and lower the overall, maintenance and operational costs.Maurice Wiley served as the master of ceremony for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony as he introduced school's principal, Steve Donahue. Then Inglewood School District students and the Inglewood High School Honor Guard led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the award-winning Inglewood High School band played "The Star Spangled Banner."The Honorable James T. Butts, the mayor of Inglewood, greeted the crowd and gave special acknowledgement to Mervyn M. Dymally, former Lt. Governor of the State of California, former assembly-member, state senator and Member of Congress. He also acknowledged Jerome E. Horton, former Inglewood City Council member and current chairman of the California Board of Equalization. "This day is one of celebrations for the City of Inglewood and for the Inglewood Unified School District," said Butts. "La Tijera K-8 School is the flagship of the school district and a representation of what is yet to come," he added.Much of the celebration was an acknowledgement of the broad range of elected officials and community members whose support, effort, and other activities contributed to the advancement of the construction project. Throughout the program, Wiley asked the crowd to acknowledge a long list of dignitaries with fitting applause - and they gladly obliged. A partial list of elected officials who were present included: State Senator Rod Wright; Assembly-members Mike Davis and Steve Bradford; Los Angeles City Council member Jan Perry and Controller Wendy Greuel; Inglewood City Council member Ralph Franklin; Inglewood City Clerk, Yvonne Horton, Inglewood City Treasurer, Wanda Brown, the IUSD board members, Superintendent Gary Mc Henry and former board member Thomasina Reed. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Assembly-member Holly Mitchell sent representatives, and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas sent a proclamation.Special recognition was also extended to Dougherty and Dougherty Architects, LLP, Bernards Brothers, the General Contractor, Turner Bakewell, Construction Managers, California Project Inspectors, Inc., and CS & Associates, Labor Compliance Program managers. IUSD board member, Arnold Butler, commented on his tenured association with the IUSD, pointing out that he has had an opportunity to observe the district from all angles. His service ranged from teacher and principal, up to and including his membership on the board. While expressing his pleasure for the grand opening of the La Tijera School, he applauded his fellow board members for their resolve and the community, for its support saying: "The school board and the city authorized a $130-million bond measure that has grown to over $300 million. The completion of this school demonstrates what may be accomplished when you stand up and make a commitment," he concludedTrina Williams, vice president of the IUSD, thanked the community, the parents and the students who were present to celebrate the grand opening, while also acknowledging the design and construction partners who were on-hand to share in the celebration. "We are grateful for all of their efforts and we are all very proud of what they have delivered." IUSD Board Member Alena Giardina, also acknowledged the construction team while indicating that the real reward goes to the children who will benefit from the state-of-the-art school. "We already have 300 students enrolled and are now focusing on the additional 450 that is needed to bring the school level to a greater capacity, and eventually to its full capacity." "This is a new day for the children, family and staff as well as the residents of Inglewood and Ladera Heights. This is the beginning of a new light, a new attitude and we are putting our children first. I am proud that we have delivered a first class, quality state-of-the-art learning facility with 21st century technology for our kids. I want to thank board members past and present for passing Measure K. We have delivered on our promise," stated board member Carol Raines-Brown.