“It’s Not the Quad, It’s Your Quad”

After 2 million dollars, a summer, construction work and a whole lot of concrete, San Leandro High’s new quad is complete.

Renovating the quad was on San Leandro High’s bucket list for a long time, and with the help of a 198 million bond our district received, the school was finally able to cross that off this year.

The redesigned quad has completely replaced the patch of grass with concrete pathways, sleek benches, and vegetation with flowers, trees and a hint of turf. This change came about to revitalize an underutilized central location of the campus. The color incorporated into the quad through the plants keeps that sense of life and open calm that the grass was meant to evoke. 

“It’s so peaceful,” Co-Principal Dr. Ronald Richardson said. “Environment does affect your mental health, emotions and wellbeing.”

A notable function of the design is to reduce student traffic. A new pathway lying diagonally across the quad provides direct access to the cafeteria, B hall stairs, and a way around the dense traffic of the main building. 

“It’s a lot easier to transition throughout the day because there’s more space,” junior Andres Corona said. 

The quad also was built to be a place for gatherings: both social and academic. 

“I have noticed a lot of students using it during lunch,” senior Hector Rosas noted. “I have also seen teachers use it to give their classes a break.”

Although the quad is new, that doesn’t mean everyone likes it. Many dislike how the design takes away much of the natural feel the quad once had. 

“It reminds me of a prison yard,” junior Maricela Turner commented. 

Another problem for students is the lack of shade the quad provides, the major heat wave that struck San Leandro right after the quad opened highlighted the issue. 

“Those seats can get really hot on sunny days, especially without shade.” Rosas said.

Luckily, the shade is on its way. Although the exact time has yet to be determined, shade structures have been a part of the district’s plan for the quad and will arrive in the future. 

“We don’t have a date,” said Dr. Richardson. 

The infrastructure has been built to add shade structures later, said Dr. Richardson. The quad may be getting tents, umbrellas, or a shade structure like the pavilions at the district elementary schools.

“What has been installed are the components that are needed,” said Richardson. 

The planning for the quad’s redesign goes back several years. The district’s superintendent, Dr. Michael McLaughlin, has long had his eyes on renovating it. 

“He has been a superintendent for quite a while and he really has a good lens on making sure that the school buildings are being improved,” Director of Community and Employee Engagement Keziah Moss said.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without any money. The 2 million dollars that went into the quad came from part of Measure N, a 198 million dollar bond applied for by the district in March 2020. The bond is using taxpayer dollars to fund the construction of many projects across the district, including the high school’s new quad, as well as a new future gym and building located amongst the current portables. 

“When [the state of California] pays for us to have public education, they don’t pay for facilities.” Keziah Moss notes. “That’s up to the community to pay for facility improvements.”

The brand new quad is but a stepping stone toward a more up-to-date, open, and welcoming school for the district for every student that’s a part of it. 

“It’s not ‘the quad’,” Dr. Richardson said, “it’s your quad.”