‘By and large, everything went great’

Browning High School enters first week of school despite remaining construction projects

Photos by Sebastian Echeverry | Signal Tribune
Signal Hill City Councilmember Larry Forester said he is concerned about the decomposed granite and telephone poles currently installed on the sidewalk, pictured here on Sept. 6, located on East Hill Street adjacent to Browning High School. The area is fenced off from public use.

The first-ever school year for Browning High in Signal Hill began largely with success last week after a decade of construction, according to one school board member. However, another local official is concerned over the location of telephone poles and the use of decomposed granite on a sidewalk.

Jon Meyer, 4th district board member for the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), visited the campus grounds on Aug. 30– the first day of school. He said school operations went smoothly, with a few minor hitches.

“We had some setbacks during the construction phase, which are in the process of being rectified,” Meyer said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. “Not everything was smooth sailing, but by and large, everything went great.”

However, Signal Hill City Councilmember Larry Forester this week said he is concerned about the temporary location of telephone poles on East Hill Street and decomposed granite that is spread on the sidewalk. As of press time, that section of sidewalk was fenced off.

Forester said electrical wires suspended from the telephone poles should have been put under ground before construction of the building began.

“The telephone poles sitting [on East Hill Street] should have been undergrounded two years ago,” Forester said.
He said the poles could cause parking issues in the weeks to come.

In a Signal Tribune story last month, Alan Reising, executive director of the LBUSD’s Facilities Planning and Development Department, said he was well aware of the remaining construction projects left on the site– including the sidewalk on East Hill Street.

Forester asked Signal Hill City Manager Charlie Honeycutt to reach out to the LBUSD and inquire about construction plans moving forward.

In a phone interview with the Signal Tribune Tuesday, Honeycutt said an East Hill Street improvement coordination meeting with Long Beach, Signal Hill and LBUSD officials is set for Monday, Sept. 11.

Honeycutt said school district officials had to change contractors to finish the construction around Browning High.

“That has affected their ability to finish the street improvements on Hill Street,” Honeycutt said. “That includes the paving, the curb and gutter, the sidewalk, street lighting and some landscaping.”

He also mentioned that the LBUSD is bidding out the project for contractors to finish street improvements around the school.

The sidewalk covered in decomposed granite is closed off, and Honeycutt said that the public cannot walk on it.
Southern California Edison will be in charge of removing the telephone poles before the cementing of the curb can be completed, according to Honeycutt.

Despite the remaining construction projects, Meyer is certain Browning High School will continue to increase its number of students.

“We’ll continue to build the enrollment until it gets to around 800 students at the end of four years,” Meyer said.

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