Colton High transforms future with Cafetorium ribbon cutting; new athletic tunnel

Students, staff, and community come together to celebrate the new facility and athletic tunnel


J. Dollins

CJUSD School Board members (from left) Israel Fuentes, Frank Ibarra, Board President Bertha Flores, and Patt Haro join Superintendent Frank Miranda for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Grand Opening of the new Cafetorium.

Colton, CA—“Transformative” was the word of the day at Colton High for February 23. Yesterday, Colton High School held a ceremony honoring both the grand opening of the new Cafetorium with a ribbon cutting, and the unveiling of the brand new tunnel for the athletic department.

Dignitaries from the CJUSD district office, school board, and community came to celebrate with students during an extended lunch period in front of the new building.

School Board President Bertha Flores delivered a speech to the assembly, focused on the importance of the new building for Colton High’s students, present and future.

“Now, you have this beautiful, state-of-the-art, brand new building to enjoy for years to come,” Flores said. “Students: you needed this building. You deserved a building like this, because you deserve the best.”

Others who spoke at the event were new Colton High Principal, John Abbott, CJUSD Superintendent, Dr. Frank Miranda, and two members from CHS ASB, President Joseph Duran and Representative Mercy Mgbemere.

“The building of the new Cafetorium represents new beginnings,” Mgbemere said. “With the new Cafetorium, we are given new possibilities every day.”

ASB President, Duran, spoke from a personal place. “Personally, seeing a brand new building like this at one of the oldest schools in California is a nice change of scenery. I am happy as a senior that I get to experience this and be a part of it before I graduate.”

As advertised, the Cafetorium is a state-of-the-art facility with open seating, multiple serving lines, a student store, and an indoor-outdoor stage. According to Dr. Frank Miranda, the building was made possible by the passing of Measure G on the 2008 ballot, which authorized the district to borrow $225 million. The new facility cost approximately $12 million.

“Our kids deserve this,” Miranda said, echoing Board President Flores. “They deserve a place to eat and hang out. It’s going to impact generations.”

Not only was the new building introduced, so was another great addition for CHS athletes. At the south end of D.C. Lane, facing the Cafetorium, stood the brand new inflatable tunnel. Designed in the form of Yogi, it will now serve as part of the entrance ritual for several teams.

ASB Director Alexandra Buskirk explained the process by which the school acquired the new tunnel. At the end of May and beginning of June “a couple of coaches from cheer and football, the athletic director and myself talked about needing to get a CHS tunnel for the new season.” They contacted a company during the summer to start the design process. Once designs were done in August, the group started reaching out to organizations at the school site.

From there girls’ soccer, wrestling, cheer, football, ASB, Renaissance, Link Crew, and CHS Athletics started fundraising and were soon able to raise half of the money. Buskirk then reached out to Liz and Leno Moreno for community support, and they were able to find community sponsors able to donate enough money to cover the other half.

“Half of the amount was raised by us as a site,” Buskirk said. “It was half us and half the community, and I love it.”

Leno Moreno, owner of Leno’s Rico Tacos, was excited to be involved. “It was awesome. It was a long time in the making, but it turned out real good.”

Several community members, businesses, and local agencies contributed to the purchase of the tunnel, including Mayor Frank J. Navarro, Councilman Isaac Suchil, Gary Grossich of Nickelodeon Pizza, CJUSD Board Member Israel Flores, Ohm Kontang of GT Imprints, Pacific Rail, the Colton Police Department, and the Colton Fire Department.

“I was honored to be asked,” said Mayor Navarro about his involvement with the tunnel fundraising, “This is transformative for us, as I see it, and I hope it just ignites more pride in our sports and athletics.”

The sponsors were the first to emerge from the tunnel, followed by the winter sports teams, wrestling, girls’ soccer, boys’ basketball, and girls’ basketball.

Madison Barrera, star of the Lady Yellowjackets basketball team, relished the experience. “It was really cool. Even though I won’t be here next year, I’m excited for all the kids that get to run through it.”

The introduction of two essential structures for Colton High made certain this was going to be an important event. The experience was a great time for the students at Colton High School.