Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 5:52 pm | Fair 73º

 
 
 
 

Santa Maria District Acquires Land for New High School

Site near rodeo grounds will house planned Agricultural Education and Career Technical Education centers

Future Farmers of America members from Santa Maria, Righetti and Pioneer Valley high schools pose at the site of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s planned new Agricultural Education and Career Technical Education centers.
Future Farmers of America members from Santa Maria, Righetti and Pioneer Valley high schools pose at the site of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s planned new Agricultural Education and Career Technical Education centers. (Contributed photo)

The Santa Maria Valley’s newest high school moved closer to reality with the close of escrow for the land.

Santa Maria Joint Union High School District officials announced Friday that escrow had closed for its $3.6-million purchase of the property intended to become home to the Agricultural Education and Career Technical Education centers.

The 25 acres sits north of the Santa Maria Elks/Unocal Event Center east of Highway 101 near Santa Maria Way.

Construction on the campus to house up to 500 students is expected to kick off in late spring 2017, with completion tentatively set for 18 months later.

Superintendent Mark Richardson described the project as a “milestone”  for the district.

“Meeting the needs of a growing student population, providing specialized agricultural and career education and investing in new facilities have been strong priorities of our Board of Education,’’ Richardson said.

“This project could not have been possible without the generosity of many community members and business partners over the years who have supported our programs through donations of time, money and other resources. The centers are something our students deserve and need to improve their future opportunities,” Richardson added.

The land was used for crop farming and owned by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. 

The district used Measure C-2004 funding to complete the purchase, according to Yolanda Ortiz, assistant superintendent of business services.

Voters approved the $79-million bond measure in 2004, with district officials saying the funding would build a new high school for up to 2,000 students, lead to health and safety improvements at existing schools, replace portable classrooms with permanent facilities, and improve student access to computers and modern technology 

The centers, which will have a capacity of 400 to 500 students, could be completed by the end of the 2018, according to Gary R. Wuitschick, director of support services. 

The first phase will involve construction of the agricultural animal unit and the career technical education building. 

“The future of career education in our district just took a giant step forward for all of our students,” board president Jack Garvin said.

The district continues to work toward career pathway programs for students, officials said..

That effort recently received a boost with a $2 million Career Technical Education Incentive Grant to help students prepare for  careers and colleges. 

The district’s CTE courses will be linked to various industry clusters such as hospitality, recreation and tourism, arts, media and entertainment and health science and medical technology.

The grant was created as a state education, economic, and workforce development initiative with the goal of providing pupils in kindergarten through 12th grade, with the knowledge and skills need for jobs and further education. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully 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.

An artist’s concept shows the planned Agricultural Education and Career Technical Education centers, a new specialized high school in the Santa Maria Valley. Click to view larger
An artist’s concept shows the planned Agricultural Education and Career Technical Education centers, a new specialized high school in the Santa Maria Valley. (Contributed photo)

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