The exterior of Stanford Middle School. Photo courtesy the LBUSD.

Continuing the Long Beach Unified School District’s efforts to have air-conditioned classrooms on all of its campuses, Stanford Middle School will be the latest Long Beach school to receive an HVAC upgrade starting this summer.

The $35 million project is expected to be completed prior to the start of the 2025-26 school year and is being funded by Measure E bonds, which were approved by voters back in 2016. According to district spokesperson Evelyn Somoza, the timeline on HVAC installation was moved up after a heat wave at the beginning of the current school year, which prompted demands from parents for more action to protect kids from the blistering temperatures inside classrooms.

“The planned installation of air conditioning systems at LBUSD schools was accelerated in response to last fall’s heat wave and the increasing frequency of extreme heat and poor air quality days,” Somoza said. “The health and safety of our students remains the district’s highest priority; we’ll continue to implement heat mitigation measures at schools that aren’t yet fully air-conditioned.”

The LBUSD’s current timeline calls for air conditioning on every campus within the next four years. The lone exception will be at Poly High School, which will undergo a major campus renovation and is slated to have AC installed in 2028.

Somoza said that 12 portable, air-conditioned classrooms will be installed at Stanford to accommodate students during construction. Once the project is complete, the campus will have full HVAC capabilities in all buildings.

“As with the district’s other HVAC projects, Stanford’s renovations will include new, high-efficiency air conditioning systems in all permanent buildings, technology and accessibility upgrades, and infrastructure updates, among other improvements,” Samoza added.

In addition to the new construction planned at Stanford, there are other HVAC projects currently underway or starting soon across the district. The HVAC project at Birney Elementary started back in April, and construction is scheduled to begin at Emerson and Gompers this summer.

During the 2023-24 school year, HVAC projects are expected to begin at Millikan High, Tincher Prep, and Minnie Gant Elementary. Additional campuses will begin construction over the next two years, with a targeted completion date for all schools (other than Poly) set prior to the start of 2027-28 school year.

Poly’s multi-year renovation project will begin during the 2024-25 school year, along with the campuswide renovations at Washington Middle School.