An interim report by the Central Valley School District Capital Facilities Committee includes recommendations for a new elementary school and returning kindergarten center students to their neighborhood schools.
The committee made its recommendations to the Central Valley School Board on Monday after a year of meeting, visiting schools and holding community forums to gather input from parents and residents.
Committee members Bob Weisbeck and Licia LeGrant said the committee had toured every building older than 10 years and had heard presentations from principals about the buildings at all the schools. They looked at projected enrollment of the schools and found that the district will be over capacity by the year 2030.
“That’s only 20 years from now,” Weisbeck said.
The report isn’t the committee’s final recommendation – that will come in June – but members laid out a plan for the next 20 years to deal with aging buildings, technology upgrades and school crowding.
“We can’t afford to not plan for the future of our school system,” said Superintendent Ben Small. “We need to prepare for the future of our children.”
The committee recommended construction of a new elementary school at the intersection of Mission and Long in the growing east end of the district and redistribution of the students at the kindergarten center on Barker Road to their neighborhood schools in the next five years.
The committee’s short-term, five-year recommendation also calls for remodeling Evergreen Middle School and expanding it for additional students and remodeling Opportunity, Chester and Greenacres elementary schools.
In the next six to 15 years, the committee said projects include building a new high school, reconstructing North Pines Middle School at its current site or another location and selling some or all of the property on Pines Road, remodeling Ponderosa, Sunrise and Progress elementary schools, looking at the facility needs for some of its expanding programs at the alternative high school and Summit School and remodeling Horizon Middle School as well as Broadway and University elementary schools.
Long-term projects – those the committee would like to see completed beyond 16 years from now – include building a new middle school and another new elementary school and the remodeling of other facilities in the district as the need comes up and state matching funds become available.
Weisbeck said that some of the current buildings have safety and security problems. There are buildings where the school office can’t control the flow of people into the building, there are hallways without security cameras and some of the schools built with an open concept design can’t be locked down in the event of an emergency.
There are also buildings needing new electrical infrastructure to keep up with technology – many classrooms were built with only a couple of electrical outlets and have wires running across floors.
The open-concept schools also have issues with heating, ventilation and air conditioning since there are false walls which block the air flow.
Weisbeck also said the group visited one school where if someone sat on one toilet, it raised up the toilet next to it. He said he was surprised to see that in one school, but even more so to see it happen in three.
LeGrant and Weisbeck told the board that when they make their final recommendation in June, they will have more information about bonds and smaller projects the schools hope for in the future.
“We all understand that we’re not going to be able to too all of this stuff,” LeGrant told the board. She said the committee was charged with figuring out what the district’s needs are and then deciding on a plan of attack.
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