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ALLmeansALL! Walnut Valley USD is proud to be a National Schools to Watch District with numerous National Blue Ribbon, California Gold Ribbon, and California Distinguished School awards. Our motto is KIDS FIRST... Every Student, Every Day!  

Construction finished at Chaparral Middle School

Check out event photos here:                

NEWS                                                                                        Walnut Valley Unified School District

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        880 S. Lemon Avenue

February 29, 2016                                                                      Walnut, CA 91789



Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources

(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204



Construction finished at Chaparral Middle School

DIAMOND BAR, CA—The dust has finally settled at Chaparral Middle School.

After eight years of construction on the Diamond Bar campus, Chaparral celebrated the completion of the last of its projects on February 25.

Parents, students, staff, community members, and Walnut Valley Unified School District officials gathered during a grand reopening and ribbon cutting to mark the milestone moment.

“In the past 14 years, I’ve seen the District’s ongoing commitment to make sure its schools are the ‘best of the best’,” said Principal Ron Thibodeaux, who was amazed at the scope of modernization and expansion plans when he arrived at Chaparral six years ago. “It was nothing short of remarkable.”

During an Open House following the ceremony, the school reopened its main building to the public and officially debuted its new music education building, the “Cougar Conservatory”, along with its new food services building, the “Cougar Kitchen.”

Previous construction on campus included relocated athletic fields, construction of a new gymnasium, and 14-classroom science and Design-Based Learning building.

“Tonight we celebrate this beautiful facility which is truly a 21st-century learning environment,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor to the audience assembled in the renovated multipurpose room. “I’m very proud that our kids get to come and learn here every day.”

All projects were made possible by voter support of Bond Measures S & Y.

“I want to thank our community for the financial support that has made our dreams a reality. I hope each of you has time to walk around the campus to enjoy what the community has built for us,” Thibodeaux added.

"Our children are so lucky! The renovations of Chaparral are completed and they are wonderful!” said Mingli Chang, president Chaparral Chinese American Parent Association (CAPA).

Main education building classes and administration moved into 28 portables at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year while construction workers renovated the campus.

“It’s not easy teaching in an environment going through major construction. Our educators and support staff didn’t miss a beat,” Taylor added.

About $14.3 million was spent on the final phase of modernization and construction.

“I know you’re probably tired of all the construction. But look around today - your patience really paid off!” added Board Vice President Dr. Tony Torng.

Instruction resumed in the modernized main building on January 4.

“When we came back from Winter Break, we opened the doors and the kids were running to see their new classes!” shared Assistant Principal Jen Alcazar.

The technology-rich learning environment was thoughtfully designed for teachers and their students.

Instructors have new adjustable workstations with portable document cameras and digital projectors.

Modernized classrooms are furnished with ergonomic chairs and rectangular, triangular, or square desks that can be grouped into teaching pods.

The renovated school is equipped with energy efficient doors and windows, skylights, and LED lighting to help Walnut Valley Unified save on its electric bill.

“It’s amazing and fantastic!” commented parent Gayathri Murali while touring son Nitin’s seventh grade math classroom.

Language arts teacher Pa Gonzola is thrilled with the new learning environment in the main education building.

“You want a place that you spend so much time in to be your sanctuary, and I feel that now!”

Leadership students waved pompoms as they greeted guests entering the new campus for the celebration.

“I love the fact that our school has new buildings and facilities and takes care of all of the kids,” commented seventh grader Attila Bionki.

“The teachers have all the equipment they need and all the students are really happy!” said eighth grader Akilan Arunachalam.

Video production students used iPads to live-stream the grand opening event on YouTube.

During Open House, students dressed up in crazy hats, wigs, and capes to demonstrate their new state-of-the-art broadcast studio used for CCNN daily news shows, while guests browsed through the classroom brimming with technology.

“This is where we learn to film, edit, and make videos,” explained eighth grader Kaylee Robles, as she monitored the broadcast. “I love making videos!”

A new 10,200-square-foot music arts building features polished concrete floors, storage cabinets, skylights, LED projectors and lighting, and has been acoustically engineered with sound-absorbing ceiling tiles and panels on the walls.

“It’s finally great to move into a room that is appropriate for music learning. The acoustics allow the students to really hear how they sound. Additionally, the instrumental storage will help keep the instruments safe and secure,” said orchestra director Greg Rochford.

The Sinfonia Orchestra performed in the Cougar Quad during grand opening celebration.

“The ceiling is really high and enhances the orchestra’s sound by 1,000 times!” said 8th grade member Sharon Lee.

“I like our orchestra building because it has soundproof doors and acoustical panels. It makes our music sound higher quality,” added cellist Jennifer Nie.

The school’s new 3,900 square-foot food services building is equipped with sparkling stainless steel ovens, cooktops, walk-in refrigerator and freezer, pizza ovens, food slicers, mixers, and wrap-around salad bar.

Food Services staffers Claudia Budiyanto and Nadia Wong eagerly showed off the Cougar Kitchen as parents snapped photos during Open House tours.

“It’s better than a restaurant!” said construction manager Jeff Roule.

The party at Chaparral also marked its 40th anniversary of providing outstanding education to children in the community.

Several of Chaparral’s original staff members were on hand to celebrate the occasion.

Retired WVUSD Assistant Superintendent Brian Cole, who served as Chaparral’s first assistant principal, recalled opening the school when building was still in progress.

“We were determined to open our doors, but were battling construction with workers in the ceilings and in the middle of classes. We had minimum days for the first two weeks!”

Retired teacher Mary Forslund also came on board when the school opened in 1976 and taught there for 35 years.

“Chaparral is a fantastic place to be and always will be!” 


Chaparral Middle School celebrated the completion of construction during a grand opening and ribbon cutting on February 25. Shown: Teachers Danny Lew and Julie Avenetti; Parents Mingli Chang- CAPA President, Blanca Bonilla –HOPE President, and Susan Swartout – Community Club President; Students Jackson Lennon – ASB President, Ryan Real - 7th Grade President, Julie Kim - 6th Grade President, Jennifer Nie -8th grade President; Assistant Principal Jen Alcazar; Board Members Dr. Tony Torng, Cindy Ruiz, and Larry Redinger; Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor; and Principal Ron Thibodeaux. 

The Treble Choir, under the direction of Rich Langham, performed in the new choir room during Open House. 

Willy Wonka Junior previewed in Chaparral Middle School’s renovated multipurpose room during Open House

Chaparral’s spacious new orchestra room features sound absorbing ceiling tiles and wall panels. 

Chaparral seventh grader Nitin Murali and his family toured a new math class at Open House. 

Chaparral Middle School families and community members toured new classrooms during Open House on February 25. 

Creative hotel architecture projects on display. Math teacher Denise Loera, at right, with seventh grader Nitin Murali and his family during Open House on February 25. 

Food Services Worker Claudia Budiyanto displays equipment in new Cougar Kitchen. 

Food services workers Claudia Budiyanto and Nadia Wong proudly show off new Cougar Kitchen at Chaparral Middle School.  

Chaparral families and community members tour the new Cougar Kitchen during Open House on February 25. 

Eighth grader Kaylee Robles uses equipment in the new digital video classroom at Chaparral Middle School. 

Language arts teacher Pa Gonzales, shown left, proudly toured Chaparral families around her new classroom. Shown with sixth grader Justin Schlachter and family. 

Chaparral leadership students waved pompoms to welcome parents and community members as they arrived on campus for the grand opening ceremony.