On May 4, 2004, students from Euclid Elementary and members of the Herbert Ibarra family turned the earth with shovels to signify the beginning of construction on the new Herbert Ibarra Elementary School. The new school will open on September 6, 2005.
The new school is named for the first Latino principal in San Diego. Born in 1923 to Mexican parents, Herbert Ibarra was a student at Memorial Junior High and San Diego High. He later served as principal at each. He was influential in developing instruction in English as a second language, first for San Diego then for schools across the country. He passed away in 1993. Educators hope Ibarra’s work as an educator will be inspirational to the school’s students.
When Ibarra became principal of Memorial Junior High in 1971, only 11% of the district’s student population was of Hispanic/Latino origin. When Herbert Ibarra Elementary opens in September 2005, it is expected that 77% of the 630 students will be of Hispanic/Latino origin.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Euclid Elementary students read essays about why a new school is needed in their neighborhood and what Herbert Ibarra’s leadership means to them.
The new school will relieve overcrowding at Euclid Elementary, which is only three blocks away from the new school. Euclid currently enrolls 951 children and busses 400 neighborhood children to other schools due to lack of space.
The new school will be located on an eight-acre site bound by Orange, Estrella, Polk and Winona. It will include 32 classrooms over two stories, a multipurpose room, library, media center, lunch shelter, 90 trees, 68 parking spaces and joint-use fields for soccer and baseball.
To make way for the new school, about 212 residents were relocated. Of those, 17 were able to use their relocation funds to become first-time homeowners.
The project is funded by Proposition MM, the $1.51 billion bond measure passed by San Diego voters in 1998. Proposition MM pays for critical repairs and modernization at existing schools as well as construction of new schools to alleviate overcrowding in the city’s most densely populated areas.