Student Center Provides Opportunities for Low Income and Special Needs Kids

Madhavi Sunder gives remarks with John Bowes and her board colleagues to her left
Madhavi Sunder gives remarks with John Bowes and her board colleagues to her left

by Madhavi Sunder

(Editor’s note: Board President Madhavi Sunder delivered these brief remarks on Tuesday at the DHS Groundbreaking Ceremony)

It is fitting that we break ground on a new All Student Center at Davis Senior High School on a rainy day. Indeed, it was exactly three years ago that then-Blue Devil students Kellen Browning and Grace Richey published a moving story in The Hub in which they noted that

“While most students can make do by eating with friends in classrooms and hallways or leave campus during rainy weather, some students—like those with disabilities that restrict them to campus—lack a place to eat lunch when it rains.”

In a series of stories and videos they noted that “[the lack of an MPR] marginalizes our low-income and disabled students, who are fed by our school and so have no other option than scramble to find shelter from the weather in the winter.”

The students argued that we were not protecting our most vulnerable students from the elements, giving them a safe and comfortable place to eat. Worse, they contested the creation of separate communities of students on this campus – the haves and have-nots.

Davis Senior High School students did not find this acceptable, and together they aspired to create a space that would bring together All Students — to eat together, and even more deeply, to make a true community together.

We are very proud of this All Student Center, which is truly the result of students advocating for students, and for Blue Devil community and pride. I still remember past Blue Devil student body president Sydney MacGuire passionately urging our school board to support the building of a 21st century center that would match the innovative and collaborative spirit of our Davis students. This building, which will create a cool and welcoming space for all students and student groups to gather, will also have classroom space, meeting and collaboration spaces for student groups, a teaching kitchen, and will foster farm to fork learning opportunities.

This will be a building truly worthy of the Davis Joint Unified School District and Davis students. It will also be a beautiful new space that our broader community can enjoy for events and gatherings, as Davis residents currently enjoy Brunelle. Congratulations, Davis Senior High. I’m proud of your community for your vision and your compassion that made this truly unique new center a reality.

(Editor’s note: this is the district press release with some details and background information on the student center)


On Tuesday, October 25 at 9:45 am, Davis Board of Education members, District Superintendent John Bowes, and Principal Will Brown will join together with the representatives from HMC Architects and Roebbelen Construction and their honored guests to officially break ground on the All Student Center (ASC). The new state-of-the-art facility will mark a new era in which Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) reimagines learning and gathering spaces for students and school community.

“In breaking ground on the All Student Center, we are taking steps toward becoming a center for innovation and progress,” Superintendent John Bowes said. “We are coming together in recognition of the importance of flexible learning spaces and to set a new standard for community building, celebration, and collaboration space.”

The 14,000 square foot new facility is estimated to take approximately twelve months to complete. “This is one of the most important and transformational facility projects in our school district in years. Once the dust has settled, Davis Senior High School’s campus will be transformed – providing a new standard for classroom space, student dining and community building,” said Davis Senior High Principal Will Brown.  “Davis Senior High School is so fortunate to have this new community asset and what a difference it is going to make for our students and campus.”


The ASC will include a flexible classroom space, career center, student café, full commercial kitchen with servery, boy/girls and transgender restrooms and an outdoor courtyard for special use instruction. The ASC will be open before and after school, providing a safe and pleasant environment for students to socialize and study and available for special community events and civic functions to support the needs of Davis and the school community.

“This is an exciting moment in our school district history. It should not be overlooked that this facility will not only serve the students at Davis Senior High, but will become a special place that almost every child in DJUSD will get to experience and enjoy. It truly will be a center for ‘all students,’” Davis Board of Education President Madhavi Sunder emphasized.

The $8 million All Student Center project will be funded by Deferred Maintenance Capital Facilities Fund and the recent sale of the Grande school site property, a parcel of land now slated for a housing development in North Davis.

Superintendent John Bowes offered, “We are making a real and lasting investment to improve our school learning environments which we know have a direct effect on student performance and well-being.”  The new All Student Center is scheduled to open in late winter of 2017. For more information, visit

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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