Saturday, July 23 , 2016, 4:14 am | Fair 66º

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Technical High School May Be in Santa Maria’s Future

District trustees may decide Wednesday whether to purchase two parcels to house a new campus

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District trustees may decide Wednesday night whether to move forward with purchasing land for a new high school.

The district is considering buying two parcels totaling 11 acres on the northeast corner of Preisker Lane and North Broadway in Santa Maria.

Officials are hoping the site will become home to a new continuation high school, with an emphasis on technical careers.

The district has been in negotiations to buy the space for several months, and may nail down details enough to extend an offer Wednesday, Superintendent Mark Richardson said.

The trustees are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 2560 Skyway Drive.

“We’re hoping to have some resolution to that by the time we get to the board meeting,” Richardson told Noozhawk on Tuesday. “We haven’t finalized anything, but our thinking was that we wanted to be prepared in case we were able to close the deal.”

The tricky part, Richardson said, is that the district is dealing with two separate owners.

Rivergate of Santa Maria LLC owns the parcel occupied by Santa Maria Pines Campground, while the corner parcel is owned by Santa Barbara Bank & Trust.

Richardson said the value of the bigger parcel, the RV park, is $2.1 million.

Even if both properties are bought, Richardson said, the district will still have to perform a series of tests to make sure the location near Highway 101 is fit for a school.

“The initial indications pretty much indicate that it would be a place where we could go forward with,” he said. “But none of it is guaranteed.”

The new school, which would be paid for with part of the district’s $79 million Measure C-2004 bond and state-matching funds, was supposed to tentatively open in 2015 and cost $15 million.

Richardson said Tuesday that he’s unsure the district could stick to that time frame or if that price is still correct.

He said a vote Wednesday could keep the district on its path to offering 400 to 450 students an education with a technical career focus.

“It would be a step forward, definitely,” Richardson said. “We want to try to create programs that will benefit all of our kids. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we would be looking at it through the lens of career technical education.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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