Buckeye school district building new school
With a combination of State School Building funds, development funds from the subdivision and a remarkable bid climate Buckeye Union School District will begin construction of a new K-5 school at 30 percent below the estimated construction costs.
This school also includes a joint-use project with the El Dorado Hills Community Services District. As a result, additional grant funding was received from the state which ultimately supports local agencies in sharing facilities rather than building duplicate buildings.
The commencement of construction activities for Valley View Elementary School is the result of a process that began in the mid-1990s. After review of several parcels in the Blackstone development, 1665 Blackstone Parkway in El Dorado Hills was submitted to the California Department of Education and met its preliminary school site approval in 1999.
With the California Department of Education’s preliminary approval, the district moved forward in getting the school site and its related improvements approved by many governmental agencies including: California Environmental Quality Act, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Toxic Substance Control, and the El Dorado County Local Agency Formation Commission, just to name a few. The district also formed an Educational Specifications Committee (subcommittee of the Master Plan Advisory Committee) to develop the specifications needed for the architects to design a school that met the instructional and operational needs of the district.
Negotiations with the owner of the property, West Valley LLC, for the acquisition of the site began to pick up steam as the district received approvals for the site from the various governmental agencies. In 2007 the district submitted and received final site approval from the California Department of Education. The district then began the development of construction drawings and documents for the construction of the school. In June 2008 the Division of the State Architect of California approved the plans for the construction of the school.
The negotiations with West Valley LLC were not just for the acquisition of the school site, but also for a supplemental school funding agreement that would provide for one half of the funds that would be needed to buy the site and construct the school. The other half of the funds would be applied for through the Schools Facility Program administered by the Office of Public School Construction (OPSC). Ultimately, the supplemental funding agreement resulted in the formation of a Mello Roos District for the Blackstone development. The Mello Roos began generating funds for the acquisition and construction of the school in 2009. The application to OPSC for state funding was approved and funded in October 2008. It should be noted that the funds used to acquire the property and construct the school cannot be used for any other purpose.
The need for the school was delayed by the economic downturn that began in 2006. While the funding provided by the development’s Mello Roos continues to generate revenue for the construction of the school, the funding application with OPSC was set to expire in March 2011. The expiration of the OPSC application would leave the district in a situation of uncertainty as to when (and how much) the state would provide for construction of the school in the future.
At the November 2010 study session of the Board of Trustees, status of the project and its funding mechanisms were reviewed. The meeting resulted in the board directing staff to prepare the construction documents in anticipation of bidding. In December 2010 the board authorized staff to put the project out to bid and in February 2011 bids were accepted and the contract awarded to Broward Builders Inc.
With an extremely competitive bidding environment, the price for the construction of the school is 30 percent less than it was estimated to be in 2008. Construction is scheduled to commence in June 2011, with completion expected in early 2013.