The San Dieguito Union School District (SDUHSD) celebrated the ribbon cutting for the new Earl Warren Middle School on Aug. 25. In two years, the 61-year-old Solana Beach campus was demolished and completely rebuilt on time and on budget.
“Our oldest middle school is now our newest, but it is still Earl Warren Middle School,” said SDUHSD Superintendent Eric Dill of the $50 million renovation project. “The school is now technologically advanced, it’s highly efficient and it’s suited to the needs of our modern students. This school is symbolic of our school district, it’s always adapting, always evolving and always advancing, and on the leading edge without changing who we are and what we stand for. Our academics, our arts, athletic performance and student outcomes are the envy of school districts throughout this region and throughout the state and we get better every year. That’s our legacy.
“This has been our tradition since 1954 when this school was opened and it’s going to continue on Tuesday when kids walk through those gates for the very first time.”
Many excited Earl Warren staff members were there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony alongside many special guests, including Senator Toni Atkins, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, former Senator Dede Alpert, former SDUSHD superintendent Bill Berrier and board member Barbara Groth, the superintendents from neighboring elementary school districts and representatives from the city of Solana Beach and the Friends of the Solana Beach Library. One of the most unique guests was former Earl Warren teacher Jay Williams, who was attending his second Earl Warren ribbon cutting. Williams, who started as a teacher at San Dieguito High School in 1951, taught at Earl Warren from 1954 to 1982.
SDUHSD President Amy Herman thanked the district families and community — the new Earl Warren campus and many other district projects would not have been possible without their support for the $449 million general obligation bond Proposition AA that passed in 2012.
“This beautiful new campus demonstrates what a community can accomplish when it comes together to support its public schools,” Herman said.
Senator Atkins and Assemblyman Gloria both complimented the community and its taxpayers for making the investment in their schools and understanding the importance of educating young people and preparing them for the next steps in the world.
Adam Camacho, who served as principal of Earl Warren during its transition period on the interim campus, thanked the construction and design team for allowing so much input to ensure that the school didn’t lose the special identity it held for those 61 years.
Craig Swenson from McCarthy Construction said it was “an absolute joy” to be involved in the school’s transformation and to build a high-quality learning environment for student success.
Laura Knauss, an architect with Lionakis, said in her 30-year career as a school architect, only a handful of these kinds of projects come around. She thanked the district for the opportunity to design a safe, sustainable school that spoke both the language of the educators and the spirit of the community.
New Earl Warren Principal Reno Medina said he is still pinching himself over the fact that he has returned to lead Earl Warren — he was an assistant principal at the school before leaving for La Costa Canyon High School in 2015.
“Earl Warren Middle School is truly family,” said Medina, noting that the vision and theme for the upcoming school year is centered around building connections and enriching the culture while incorporating the dynamics of a whole new school. “Now that we have a dynamic combination of a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly facility and an amazing educational community, I can’t wait to soar like Seahawks and take Earl Warren Middle School to the next level.”
Assemblymember Gloria, who was a history major in college, offered some words about the school’s namesake Earl Warren, the former California governor and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
“Earl Warren has the distinction of being the only governor nominated by both the Democratic and Republican parties,” Gloria said. “I think that his legacy of activism, of justice, of equality, of unflinching integrity and courage are skills and characteristics that are worthy of our children. I hope that this new school helps to really breathe life into that legacy and transfer those skills onto our young people.”