Principal Mercedes Lovie loves her new school. So do the students and staff at Blandford Elementary in Rowland Heights.

So they invited family and friends to a grand opening on May 12 to celebrate their grand school. Nobody was surprised when more than 400 people showed up.

"We moved out here before the school was built," recalled neighbor Mary Hiraki. "I remember when this was all orchards full of oranges and walnuts. One day, the cows came down from the hills and began eating our neighbor's lawn so he called the police."

Well, the cows are long gone, replaced by a lot of bears. At least, that's what the kids call themselves, the Blandford Bears.

A cute mascot for a California Distinguished School.

From left, students Isaiah Chin, 7, Melody Lo, 7, and Stephanie Garcia, 8, check out the computer area of the new library. (Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda)
And now the Bears have a cute school.

Of course, the Rowland Unified School District spent more than $2 million to renovate the 50-year-old school, thanks to Measure R which raised $118 million for the school district.

In fact, Blandford and Ybarra Academy were two of the first schools renovated with the bond money.

Last summer, the Rowland campus had been abuzz with the sound of buzz saws as construction crews gutted the old classrooms. Nine-foot deep trenches crisscrossed the site as contractors installed new utility lines.

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