Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials gathered Nov. 17 to break ground on a modernization project at John Adams Middle School that will replace some offices and classrooms and add new amenities.

The ceremony marked the beginning of the modernization project at the Santa Monica school, where construction is currently underway. The event included a project overview and site walk to identify points of interest on the construction site.

Among those in attendance were John Adams Principal Eva Mayoral, school alumnus and director of the Facility Improvements Office Stuart A. Sam, School Board Member Ralph Mechur, and Measure BB Advisory Committee members David Kaplan, Bill Jepson, and Judith Meister. Project architects and contractors also took part in the ceremony.

The modernization project includes a new attendance office and a new art classroom, which will replace the old main office. As part of the project, the east wing will be replaced with new classrooms, a new parking lot, and a new lunch shelter, and a new stage and seating area will be constructed at the Commons Space.

In addition, the fire alarm system will be upgraded to a fully automatic system and two tennis courts will also be constructed on campus.

School officials said the John Adams modernization project reflects Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) criteria through solar chimneys, improved day lighting, air quality and natural ventilation, maximized energy efficiency, storm water treatment and reduced water use.

The $12.45 million-project, which began in August, is slated to be completed in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2012