Construction is underway for two new state-of-the-art facilities at Dos Pueblos High School.
The new facilities will support Career Technical Education pathways in manufacturing, product development, media arts, and design. The $16 million project includes two buildings with 30,000 square feet of specialized educational spaces. These new facilities will allow the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy to expand its ability to impact the community beyond Dos Pueblos High School, according to officials.
Philanthropist Virgil Elings is the lead donor on the project with a gift of $4 million and the facilities will be named in his honor.
“The Engineering Academy offers a world-class education and I want people to know that. Besides, this whole thing is dirt cheap if you calculate how many students are going to be impacted by the new opportunities offered in these buildings — thousands — and to just save a few lives by getting people started on a different track than they’re on is worth it,” Mr. Elings said during the groundbreaking ceremony.
DPEA Founder Amir Abo-Shaeer said that the academy is “grateful” for Mr. Elings’ generosity and support for the project.
“With his support, the Elings Center for Engineering Education was completed in 2012 enabling the DPEA to serve 400+ students annually,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing with our community the expanded vision that will be enabled by the addition of these new facilities.”
The project will also help launch a new chapter for the DPHS media program, which will allow the media program to “collaborate in new and creative ways” to provide a comprehensive media arts education to students.
“This is truly a dream come true,” shared media program director John Dent.
The new facility will be located on the south side of the school’s campus.
“The contributions of Virgil Elings to facilities projects for the DPHS community have been tremendous. His generous support of this new project gives our school the opportunity to go from merely replacing dilapidated, portable classrooms from the 1970s to creating a hub for Career Technical Education programs,” said DPHS Principal Bill Woodard. “These new facilities will enable our students to learn, create, and collaborate on real-world projects for generations to come.”
The project was initiated with $5 million of Measure I bond money that had been earmarked to replace the aging portables. The funds were leveraged to raise another $11 million through competitive state grants and philanthropic sources.
DPEA Director Emily Shaeer said, “When it was announced that $5 million of bond money had been set aside to replace the portable classrooms, I saw a real opportunity to build something more impactful by applying for additional funding through the state Career Technical Education Facilities Program. After our efforts yielded $4.3 million in grant awards, we turned to local philanthropists like Virgil to seek their support in bringing this project to fruition.”
Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy Foundation President and DPEA Class of 2009 Alum Daniel Huthsing said he is proud of the foundation’s track record of supporting the students in the SBUSD.
“Our Foundation looks forward to continuing to collaborate with (Mr. Elings) and other philanthropists to support the objectives of the DPEA program and to launch future initiatives that will impact our community and transform education in our nation,” he said.
Santa Barbara Unified School District Superintendent added that public education “has long been missing” an opportunity for innovation.
“Sometimes we become stuck in the ‘now’ instead of the ‘what could be’ in the future,” she said. “What if we partnered more with others? What if we brought people into our public education system instead of closing our doors to that opportunity so that our children could benefit from our partnerships? I say yes to collaboration, to our partnerships, to innovation, and to leaving a legacy behind that future generations can be inspired by and benefit from.”
District staff and teachers worked with KBZ Architects to develop the design for the project. The construction contract was awarded to Telacu Construction Management and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2022.