Demolition of the Old UP Campus

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Caitlynn Kelley

This is a picture of the old University Preparatory sign that is still standing on the grounds of old UP and Victor Junior campus. 2019 Alumni Stephanie Diaz-Cruz talks about all of her happy memories of the old U.P. campus, “I remember starting my very first year of middle school at UP; I was so nervous when I had first shown up to the campus. The campus seemed bigger at the time. I would hang out with a few friends I had at the time under one huge tree next to what was then the library. Since attending the school can sometimes be stressful for some people, there are some times when you just need a little break from everything during lunch and there were so many spots: near the library, close to the main office, or around the quad area.” 

Caitlynn Kelley, Journalist

On the corner of Seventh Street and Forrest Avenue stands the old University Preparatory campus. With its boarded up walls and deteriorated UP sign, the school is just a remnant of what it used to be. In all of its glory, the campus used to house the now defunct Victor Valley Junior High School. It is now facing demolition because it has been a hotspot for trespassing, vandalism, and robbery. Another reason for the demolition is the fire that ravaged the historic Danny Ribbons gym in late 2018, leaving the campus in a dilapidated state. The district had to repeatedly pay expenses toward the continued reconstruction of fences due to the frequent vandalism that was happening. The demolition would also nullify the expenses of having to pay to repair the gym. Those who were at this campus during its time as Victor Junior and University Preparatory were very disheartened and reminisced about all of the good times that they had on the campus. However, some of them stated that the demolition would be for the greater good due to all of the criminal activity surrounding the vacant campus. 

2019 Alumni Stephanie Diaz-Cruz  states how disappointed she is about the news, “It’s a little sad to hear that the old campus is being demolished since it’s been around for a very long time.”

Diaz-Cruz doesn’t believe that the Victorville community will be affected by the demolition of the campus.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the demolition will really affect the Victorville community, because sadly, the community and the district really only care about the bigger schools in the community and not the smaller schools that have achieved more academic successes.”

Diaz-Cruz elaborates, “The lack of care for the smaller schools that achieve more academically has been seen by how much money has been given to Silverado and Victor Valley High School to remodel so many of their structures and add on more to their campuses; they also have more support and access to certain resources that are valuable to students, such as transportation.”

2019 Alumni Sophia Kim recalls great memories and experiences at the old U.P. campus, “I’ll never forget the horrible double PE field and having to run the retired ‘super-jumbos.’ I appreciate how big that campus was and how it felt like a completely new environment when I first went there in seventh grade. It was a huge and much more ‘high school’ feeling campus and there are great memories there.” She states that she supports the demolition of the campus and that it will improve the Victorville community.

“I think that the demolition process of the old campus is honestly something that should have started sooner. It just became a place for people to mess up anyways and it’s a big area where…illegal exchanges happen, so I think it’s good that they’re demolishing the campus. It’ll give room for something better for the community.”

Caitlynn Kelley
This is what is left of the old UP and Victor Junior campus located in Old Town Victorville. Some alumni of UP do believe that the demolishment will make the Victorville community safer. Arroyo believes that even though the demolition is upsetting, it will be better for the Victorville community overall. “I believe the demolition process is disappointing, but it is worthwhile taking into consideration that the space is known to be a site of vandalism and overall is not truly safe. Therefore, I believe that even if many students desired to return to that campus, such a decision would not be the best, taking into consideration everyone’s safety and well being.”

Kim believes that the demolition won’t affect a lot of the Victorville citizens and she doesn’t know anyone that might be affected. “The people with the most memories of the campus are the students and the staff that went there. Thankfully the staff has found a new home to make new memories on UP’s Seneca campus, and the students who went to the 7th street campus have all moved on from high school and have more or less left behind those memories of the campus.”

Despite only spending a year there, 2019 Alumni Leslie Arroyo thought it was a special place. “I enjoyed the amount of space the campus had and remember looking for different places to eat my lunch with my group of friends. I also enjoyed PE because there was a larger field to exercise.” 

She is dejected by the UP campus’ destruction and she believes other former UP students will be too. “I believe the demolition process is a bit saddening taking into consideration that this space is special for many former UP students, including myself. For example, my older brother also attended UP and I’m sure he has plenty of special memories connected to that campus.”

Caitlynn Kelley
This is a sign with Victor Valley Junior High on it. The old UP campus once housed Victor Valley Junior High before housing University Preparatory. When people heard news of this, they were quick to share how saddened they were on social media. Mary Anne Christy left a comment about how her dad was a teacher at Victor Junior on the Memories of the Victor Valley Face Book page.

Overall, former-UP students and other people who have gone to school at this campus will feel disappointed about the demolishing of the old UP and Victor Junior campus. Even the Mayor of Victorville, Gloria Garcia, was saddened by the news of the campus’ demolition. However, the demolition might be for the best for the community in Victorville. The building was dilapidated and kept being vandalized. In 2018, a former teacher who used to work at Victor Junior saw the vandalism and neglect and wished for there to be renovation. Despite this, the demolition of the campus is almost finished, and the process will continue further into 2020.