Encinal Jr. & Sr. High Celebrates New Campus

Mark Brueckman The city celebrated the reopening of Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School with a ribbon cutting last Friday. Student Board Member Brian Lin does the honors as other dignitaries look on.

Encinal Jr. & Sr. High Celebrates New Campus

After two years of construction, the renovation of Encinal Junior/Senior High School’s campus is complete. Last Friday, Aug. 6, students, staff, alumni, and community members gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the school’s new courtyard.

Speakers at the event included Encinal’s Principal Doreen Bracamontes, Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Board of Education President Mia Bonta, Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Pasqual Scuderi, Encinal’s Student Board Representative Brian Lin and the lead architect for the school’s new-and-improved campus Mark Quattrocchi. Speeches were accompanied by live music by band director Antonio Gennaro and senior Kash Mejia. The ceremony also included student-led tours of Encinal’s campus.

“I wanted to come out and help my school because I’ve always been here at Encinal,” said senior Isaiah Coss. “I feel like I know where everything is and I wanted to share my knowledge with other people.”

Not every student feels well acquainted with the layout of the school. The construction went on for almost a year before the COVID-19 pandemic and continued until early 2021, meaning many students never set foot on campus or haven’t done so in more than 16 months.

“I feel like I’ll need a tour to refresh because I was really only there for seven months in my freshman year, and we have a big new building,” said one Encinal junior. “Plus, I won’t be able to help any incoming freshman or sophomores find classes in the new buildings.”

The new campus includes: a new classroom building overlooking the Bay, fully modernized 200, 300, and science buildings, new landscaping and student gathering areas in the front of the campus, outdoor basketball courts and upgraded fire alarms, PA systems, phones, clocks, classroom technology and campus power systems.

Along with the Encinal staff and those working directly on the operation, it was the entire community that was able to make the new campus possible.

“This modernization project embodies the very best of Alameda,” said Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft. “In 2014, our community pulled together to pass Measure I … and Measure I was there to support projects like this that benefit our schools, our families, our students — so thank you, Alameda voters.”

Encinal’s renovation and new construction demonstrates what a community can do when it comes together for the betterment of the island.

Students and teachers are ecstatic to arrive at a state-of-the-art campus, able to view and experience firsthand the result of a whole town’s hard work.

Stella Madsen is a student journalist and junior at Encinal High School.