By Richard Irwin
Maple Hill Elementary in Diamond Bar ready to reopen after $5 million makeover
Maple Hill Elementary students found a new school when they arrived Monday morning for the first day of the new year.
Diamond Bar families have waited patiently the past year while workers renovated the Diamond Bar campus.
Jeff Roule, construction manager of Walnut Valley Unified District stands in the new multi-purpose room during a tour of Maple Hill Elementary School. The school has just undergone a year-long renovation and will be ready to start school on Monday. (Photo by Robert Huskey)
“The district spent $5.6 million to remodel this school,” said Walnut Valley school board president Cindy Ruiz. “I wish my children went here, it’s great environment for kids.”
Lush landscaping greets parents as they drive up to drop off their children. The vibrant shrubs and trees set the tone for the striking campus. Inside, architects have balanced energy efficiency with high technology to produce a state-of-the-art school.
“We can have rainbows all day long,” said kindergarten teacher Lisa Esse.
Esse explained how light tubes channel sunlight into each classroom. Teachers can control shutters to allow just the right amount of light into their room.
“If you tweak the control just right, the prisms will form a faint rainbow,” Esse laughed. “The kids will love it.”
Ruiz turned off the lights to show how much natural light pours into the classrooms. It was still be easy to read a textbook.
“We have also installed new LED lighting throughout the school,” said Jeff Roule, construction manager for Walnut Valley Unified. He estimates the new lighting systems will save the school 20 percent on its electric bill.
But wait, there’s more. Large windows and glass doors give students a view of the new landscaping and playgrounds outside. Dual pane insulated windows will keep the energy bills down, as well as keep the new classrooms quiet and comfortable.
Esse pointed out her kindergartners now have their own fenced in area outside. A low chain link fence separates the playgrounds.
“The kids can even sit out under the trees at lunchtime,” she added. “They won’t have join the older students in the cafeteria.”
The kindergarten rooms also share a work room, where the tykes can paint to their hearts delight without worrying about spilling paint on the new carpeting. The work rooms have easy to clean floors with convenient sinks nearby.
“The kindergarten complex also has its own bathrooms,” Esse said, pointing to four large bathrooms.
The students return to 600 new desks and chairs if you’re counting. That’s more than enough for the 560 children enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grades, according to Principal Nancy Stingley.
“It’s fabulous, our community deserves this new school,” Stingley agreed.
Teacher Kristin Thomas loves the new technology. She’s taught at Maple Hill for the past 25 years.
Instructors have new mobile desks to serve as a compact A/V hub in the classroom. This desk will hold the teacher’s laptop, keyboard and mouse, as well as portable document camera. It is even height-adjustable, allowing teachers to change from a sitting to a standing position whenever they want.
The camera feeds the new digital projector mounted in the ceiling of each classroom. Teachers can zoom in or out of a textbook page or bring up a page from the internet.
And last, but certainly not least, the central courtyard has been converted into a huge multipurpose room. Assistant Superintendent Jeanette Ullrich said a new roof was installed to enclose the courtyard.
Giving Maple Hill students another great place to hold their assemblies.
Assistant Superintendent Jeanette Ullrich looks over a classroom during a tour of Maple Hill Elementary School. (Photo by Robert Huskey)
Jeff Roule, construction manager of Walnut Valley Unified District stands in the new multi-purpose room during a tour of Maple Hill Elementary School. The school has just undergone a year-long rennovation and will be ready to start school on Monday. (Photo by Robert Huskey)
Lisa Esse, a kindergarden teacher demonstrates her new whiteboard, projector, and cabinets during a tour of Maple Hill Elementary School. The school has just undergone a year-long renovation and will be ready to start school on Monday. (Photo by Robert Huskey)