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Fremont Unified School District and its many partners celebrate the groundbreaking of a new elementary school – Lila Bringhurst – under construction in South Fremont
Posted 9/27/17

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Fremont Unified School District Board Trustee Larry Sweeney, Associate Superintendent Raul Parangao, Valley Oaks Partners and Fairfield Residential representative Doug Rich, Lennar Homes Division President Brian Olin, Superintendent Dr. Kim Wallace, Board Trustee Desrie Campbell, Toll Brothers Division President Rick Nelson, Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Board Trustee Dr. Yang Shao, and Board President Ann Crosbie shovel dirt and share laughter during the groundbreaking of the first new public elementary school built in the last 25 years.

On September 27, 2017, purple and gold balloons shimmered in the late afternoon heat at a construction site in South Fremont where the development of a new neighborhood is underway. The balloons marked the site of the first public elementary school to built in Fremont in a quarter of a century, when the Fremont Unified School District Board of Education and staff, and its many partners gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking.   The new elementary school, which will be named after Lila Bringhurst, a Fremont community leader, historian and philanthropist who died in 2016, will serve the residents of the new neighborhood located west of the recently opened Warm Springs BART station.

Guests arrived at the construction site by yellow school buses departing from FUSD offices or the Warm Springs BART station. The buses added an adventurous, festive ‘field trip’ touch. “It's been a long time since many of us have been on a school bus,” noted Fremont Mayor and former school board member Lily Mei in her celebratory remarks.

The program featured musical performances by the Kennedy High School Band, led by Mr. Bob Sterling, and a welcome from Superintendent Dr. Kim Wallace. Others on the program included Brian Olin, Division President, Lennar Homes; Rick Nelson, Division President, Toll Brothers; Doug Rich, spokesperson on behalf of Valley Oak Partners and Fairfield Residential; and FUSD Board of Education President Ann Crosbie. All speakers acknowledged the strong partnerships, the years of collaboration and planning, and the key role that former Superintendent Dr. James Morris played in making the new school a reality. “It is his vision, planning and execution [that laid the foundation],” said Dr. Wallace, “but I promise you that every student that comes through this new school will get the very best education that Fremont has to offer.”

“Discussions began in 2013,” Rick Nelson reminded the crowd, and the length of planning was again addressed by FUSD Board President Ann Crosbie.  “The Beatles song, The Long and Winding Road, keeps playing through my mind,” she said. “It has been years of preparation for us to get this point today… this groundbreaking would not be possible without a commitment from the City and the home builders with whom we have had the pleasure of collaborating.”

Happy – and warm - guests included current and former FUSD Board Trustees Larry Sweeney, Yang Shao, and Desrie Campbell, Lara Calvert and Peggy Herndon; Fremont Vice Mayor Rick Jones, Councilmembers David Bonaccorsi and Raj Salwan; BART Project Manager, John Rennels, and many City and District administrators.

Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA), who specializes in 21st century learning environments, designed the new elementary school. The design is sleek, modern and fresh, and reflects Silicon Valley creativity and innovation, and includes a media center, flexible spaces for project-based learning, an outdoor amphitheater, and the latest technology.  The adjacent four-acre joint-use park is designed by Gates & Associates, and will serve as a community-building hub for the school and neighborhood.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Wallace underscored the importance of the teaching and learning that will take place in the new school by quoting educational reformer John Dewey, ‘If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.’ ”

The ‘tomorrow’ for students in South Fremont is very promising.


Bill O’Brien, Morgan Sterling, and Tanah Teixeira, Lennar Homes; Art Hand Jr. and Paul Bickford, fb2 Solutions; Robin Michel; and Therese Gain, FUSD Facilities Director- Special Projects all served on the planning committee. Lennar Homes provided the decorations and refreshments.

After the groundbreaking, the FUSD Board of Education selected a name for the school during its board meeting. The new Lila Bringhurst Elementary School is anticipated to open in 2019.

Click here to view the groundbreaking video.