Officials break out the golden shovels for new school
In one of her last official duties as Buckeye Union School District’s superintendent, Terry Wenig started a new project — the construction of the district’s sixth elementary school.
Wenig welcomed her school board members, county officials, development company representatives and other guests to the new school’s groundbreaking ceremony in the Blackstone community off Latrobe Road Wednesday morning.
“It’s exciting to start something new for the district before I go,” Wenig said.
The retiring superintendent gave credit for the project to Buckeye Director of Facilities Ray Boike. The 13.5-acre school site (with a neighboring 5-acre park site) was identified in in the mid 1990s, approved by the state in 1999 and after meeting requirements from numerous agencies — “every letter combination you can think of,” Wenig said — district officials hired Murray & Downs (now Anova) to design the new school.
When the drawings were submitted to the state in 2007, Wenig said she and her board thought the process would quickly move along. Then the economy took a nose dive.
They took a chance and pushed forward, she continued, going out to bid. “The bid came in 30 percent less that what (construction) was estimated to cost and that’s huge,” Wenig told the crowd. The low bid from Broward Builders based in Woodland totaled $15.678 million.
Funding for the school comes from a Mello Roos Facility District formed by district officials and representatives from developers AKT Development and Lennar Communities, and the State School Facility Program (covering a little more than $9.22 million). “No general fund money” will be used to build the school, Wenig said, and the funds used for construction are earmarked for that specific purpose; the money can’t be used for anything else.
“The school … will be approximately 48,000 square feet [and] includes 27 classrooms, library/administrative building and a joint-use multi-purpose room,” according to a press release issued by the district “The school is also being constructed to meet the criteria of the California High Performance School construction guidelines. To meet the criteria, the school must incorporate sustainable building materials and techniques, utilize recycled materials, incorporate recycling in the construction process and exceed the requirements of Title 24 for energy efficiency, which ultimately results in a healthier instructional environment.”
The new school will serve approximately 650 students.
The school district teamed up with the El Dorado Hills Community Services District to build a larger-than-normal multi-purpose room that will double as a CSD gym when school’s out. The CSD, which will also use the school’s baseball and soccer fields, contributed $456,000 toward the construction of the gym — a bargain, according to CSD General Manager John Skeel. It would have cost the CSD much more to build a gym on its own.
“We desperately need the new, larger gym,” Skeel explained, adding that the large school parking lot is also a plus. “There’s not enough space for the sports groups now. This will be a big help.”
The real dirt moving begins next week and Broward Builders plans to complete the project in early 2013, Boike said.
District officials have not decided on a name for the new school that will serve students from kindergarten through fifth grade. They plan to hold contest, giving future students a chance to name their school.
Buckeye Union School District currently serves about 4,600 students at five elementary schools and two middle schools.