This year, the Salinas High School in Salinas, Calif., celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the bells in the school’s bell tower, which haven’t worked for the last 30 years, rung out to mark the occasion.
“They had become very old, even ancient, technology and were so old that they couldn’t even be repaired”, said Jerri Champlin, executive manager of NECA’s Monterey Bay California Chapter in Salinas.
Looking at the opportunities here, the chapter’s Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC), which frequently comes together to provide funding for community projects and to do other volunteer work in the community, opted to see about replacing the bell system.
“Salinas is the county seat of Monterey, and many of us involved in NECA grew up around here,” Champlin said.
Spearheading the operation was chapter governor, Rick Jensen, who is also the owner of Salinas-based JM Electric.
“Rick and I are both alumni of the high school,” Champlin said.
“When we looked at what needed to be done, we realized that the whole system was shot,” she said. “It needed everything.”
The LMCC worked closely with the high school to determine what they wanted and how the new system should be installed.
“By the time we had come up with the plans for what needed to be done, and what would need to be purchased, and then actually buying and installing everything, it ended up being about a two-year project,” Champlin said.
Fortunately, the LMCC launched the project far enough in advance that it could meet the school’s 100th anniversary deadline.
The LMCC paid for the new system, JM Electric installed everything, and then it was then donated to the school.
The school had planned to play the new bells for the 100th anniversary graduating senior class this year, but, because of the coronavirus, the graduation was canceled. Instead, students and families could drive by the school on the main street in Salinas and listen to the bells as they rang for nearly 20 minutes to celebrate the 2020 graduates.
In addition, at noon on July 4, the bells will play patriotic music for everyone in the city driving by.