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Grossmont Union High School District Announces Grand Re-Opening/Dedication of Historic Landmark Buil

EL CAJON, CALIF. – Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) announced today that modernization of its iconic 92-year-old District Office building, located at 1100 Murray Drive in El Cajon, has been completed.

Built in 1922, the 35,000-square-foot building was the first classroom building constructed for Grossmont High School. After the campus expanded and new buildings were added, the original classroom building was converted into the GUHSD district office in 1958. Over the years, its distinctive architecture and features eroded, and the building no longer met code requirements for safety and access.

The $14.2 million construction project involved two separate buildings, the Stone Building and the Old Main, both of which required comprehensive utility, environmental and seismic upgrades to meet current safety, Americans with Disabilities (ADA) and Field Act compliance standards. The offices currently house employees in the special education, business, educational services departments, and human resources departments as well as the superintendent’s office.

The project team went to great lengths to assure that modern improvements and traditional architectural features were successfully blended in order to honor the building’s rich history.

Notable design features include:

  • Preservation of the original, unreinforced stone façade with structural upgrades.

  • Replacement of existing fixed windows with high-efficiency, operable wood windows in keeping with the original wood style.

  • Removal of late-addition structures to open up the interior floor plan, reclaim original courtyard views and allow daylight and natural ventilation to once again flow through the building.

  • Preservation of interior structural elements and exposing them as unique design features, including roof truss systems, wood beams and columns.

  • Recreating the Gothic arch wood entry doors to preserve the original entry.

  • Reuse of existing wood flooring and reconstruction of the original building skylight.

  • Renovation of east and west courtyards to accommodate use by students and District staff.

  • Creating interior areas for preservation and historical displays, in collaboration with the District’s museum curators.

  • Removal of exterior canopy sun shades and window-mounted air conditioning units from the façade of the building.

  • All-new HVAC, plumbing, electrical, lighting, fire protection and communications system updates.

  • Addition of modern design features such as steel and stone tile stairs, stainless and glass handrails, glass conference rooms, exposed ductwork and curvi-linear (arched panel) ceilings.

A grand re-opening and dedication ceremony was held at the site on May 1, which included public addresses by Bill Wells, mayor of El Cajon; Ralf Swenson, GUHSD superintendent; Scott Patterson, deputy superintendent; and Rob Shield, governing board president. The event also included a Presentation of the Colors by the Grossmont High School NJROTC and performance by the school’s Red Robe Choir.

The majority of the funding for this project is from former redevelopment funds, primarily from the City of El Cajon. The remaining balance of the project funding comes from the district’s capital facilities fund and Propositions H and U. Proposition H and U resources were used specifically to bring the structure into compliance with ADA standards, including an elevator and wheelchair accessibility.

The project team included district staff, program manager Gafcon, Inc., general contractor Turner Construction and architect LPA, Inc, and Inspector Services by Knowland Construction. More information about the GUHSD construction program is available at The Citizens Bond Oversight Committee website is

About Grossmont Union High School District

Established in 1920, Grossmont Union High School District encompasses an area of approximately 465 square miles, including all of the cities of El Cajon, Santee and Lemon Grove, most of the city of La Mesa, a small portion of the city of San Diego, and the unincorporated areas of Alpine, Dulzura, Jamul, Lakeside and Spring Valley. Over 24,000 students are served by the district’s schools. The district consists of nine comprehensive high schools, two charter schools, one continuation high school, two alternative education sites, four special education facilities, a middle college high school program, a Regional Occupational Program (ROP) and an adult education program. The district employs 2,300 full-time employees, as well as hundreds of hourly employees, making it the largest employer in the East County. More information about Grossmont Union High School District can be found at

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