The new hospital room at Pleasant Valley High School on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 in Chico, California. (Jennie Blevins/Enterprise-Record)
The new physical therapy room at Pleasant Valley High School is pictured Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 in Chico, California. (Jennie Blevins/Enterprise-Record)
Left to right, Pleasant Valley High School culinary arts students Carson Breedon, Ava Bomann and Aiden King whip up scones Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, California. (Jennie Blevins/Enterprise-Record)
CHICO — Pleasant Valley High School has received a makeover.
The project included a new dining hall and kitchen facility, five new classrooms, four new labs, a new administration office and fenced entrance, new quad area, interactive television and teaching stations in all classrooms, specialty student resource and staff offices, new bus drop, a new parking lot configuration to assist with enhancing a safe student drop off, new exterior safety lighting, campus wide upgraded fire alarm, voice and intercom systems and industry-leading energy efficient technology and applications.
Prior to the 2021 fall semester, the school received funding for brand-new programs and facilities to give students real-life job experiences to take with them into the “real” world. The school, which was founded in 1964, was given a makeover funded by Measures E and K and CTE grants. The cost was $16,209,000. The school currently has a population of 1,800 students.
Rainforth Grau Architects in Sacramento designed the facilities and the contractor was Chico company Slater and Son.
One of the facilities is a new quad, styled to look like a Viking ship, as Pleasant Valley’s mascot is the Viking.
“This gives students taking these classes a leg up since they can figure out what they want to do in life in high school,” said Julia Kistle, director of Facilities and Construction for Chico Unified School District.
Pleasant Valley High Principal Damon Whittaker feels very positively about the school’s new facilities.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity this provides for students,” Whittaker said. “The students in the culinary program are using a state-of-the-art brand new culinary lab to work in as well as a restaurant to run. It’s providing new opportunities that kids didn’t have a few years ago. The medical pathway lab and sports medicine labs are providing great opportunities to work in a lab environment. They get hands on training into the community doing work with them. We’re grateful for everyone for the hard work securing funds to build brand-new facilities.”
Students in the culinary program are not only learning how to cook, but also learning the practical side of running a restaurant, such as the business end and meal planning processes, purchasing, stocking, how to safely serve food and food preparation. Students receive a certification in their fields.
“They’re learning the important side of a running a business,” said Kistle. “This helps them in getting into college.”
Kistle said that Butte College has a good culinary program.
“If they want to go to Butte College they are getting a good foundation here,” Kistle said.
Students in sports medicine and medical pathways now have a state-of-the-art physical therapy room and a hospital-like room with mannequins to practice medicine on.
The school held a ribbon cutting Nov. 17. Guests toured all of the new buildings. Culinary and hospitality students prepared several dishes for guests to sample. This included bruschetta, viking cookies, two different pizzas from the school pizza oven and pickled vegetable salad. Medical students demonstrated special glasses to mimic eye disease symptoms, blood pressure and infant CPR procedures and also discussed their internship programs. Sports medicine students demonstrated injury care, including icing and taping, stretches and strengthening exercises.
Aiden King is a culinary student at Pleasant Valley. “I think it’s really good,” King said about the culinary program. “We get a lot of support from Miss Burns and the administration. We learn various techniques for making dishes as well as teamwork, leadership and cooperation.”
Chico High School also received an upgrade. The school houses agricultural science programs, floral arranging and agricultural welding.
Some of the students end up doing internships during their academic training at Enloe Medical Center where they observe surgeries, for example, or work in obstetrician/gynecology offices. Some students work in local restaurants as well.
“They come out more prepared to work in restaurants,” Kistle said.
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