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LJES changes surprise students, parents

When school started on Tuesday, the hundreds of students and parents entering La Jolla Elementary School (LJES) probably did a double take.

Thanks to Bloom, a privately funded site-improvement committee, the entire campus has been transformed.

“We’ve grown used to the Bloom committee projects revitalizing our campus over the past few years,” Principal Donna Tripi stated in a press release. “But the completion of the Marine Street entryway and painting of the entire campus will truly take your breath away.”

The summer project originally was slated to be a renovation of the hardscape and landscape of the school’s front entrance, but state guidelines for plan review and approval were prohibitively costly and time-consuming. So the committee turned to Plan B, the renovation of the landscaping on the Marine Street entry side and the repainting of the entire campus.

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“While we were initially disappointed to have to change our plans for the Marine Street Entryway, we soon realized that we could apply the funds we’d raised to transform the entire campus,” said Dina Buckley, Bloom chairperson. “We truly have changed the cover of the book of La Jolla Elementary School to match the incredible story of our academic community.”

Along with the extraordinary transformation brought about by the campus’s new paint color, the Marine Street entryway also features new seating benches, large decorative planters and refuse containers, a wealth of new California native drought-tolerant plants and a lawn area replanted with high-traffic turf and irrigation. The exterior painting, done by Ariel Lopez and his team from M. Chavis Painting, will continue after school hours and on weekend.

Other successful Bloom projects include the Girard Welcome Plaza, a complete refurbishment of the LJES campus on the Girard Avenue side of the school including the Girard Avenue Courtyard, a beautiful circular seating area; and the Auditorium Promenade, improvements to the sidewalk leading from Marine Street to Girard Avenue along the school’s edge to form the Legacy Walkway; and the Kindergarten Terrace, a wonderful new green lawn play area/outdoor classroom for the kindergarten featuring the Kindergarten Terrace Neighborhood Playhouse and the Kindergarten Terrace Gathering Wall, a seating wall for parents and siblings to gather during pick-up and drop-off.

Bloom is a sanctioned committee at LJES, with 12 board members operating in conjunction with the Friends of La Jolla Elementary, Inc., the support of the PTO, and very importantly, in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District.

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