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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 3:45 am | Fair 39º


Santa Maria School District to Break Ground on New Elementary Campus

14 straight years of enrollment growth forces district to resurrect plan for new K-6 school in southwest Santa Maria

In an effort to keep up with ever-increasing enrollment, the Santa Maria-Bonita School District is moving forward with on-the-backburner plans to build a new elementary school in southwest Santa Maria.

Construction crews are expected to break ground on the new project site near the corner of Carmen Lane and Western Avenue within the next month or two, said district spokeswoman Maggie White.

The Board of Trustees voted 5-0 during a special board meeting last month to award the $16.8 million building contract to Santa Clarita-based AMG Associates.

The yet-to-be-named K-6 school, dubbed during preliminary planning phases as the Acquistapace elementary school project, will be built on land the district has owned for five years, White said.

The Santa Maria-Bonita district, which serves more than 14,400 students in 15 elementary schools and four junior high schools, is in its 14th consecutive year of enrollment growth, with an expected increase of 350 to 450 more students next year, she said.

An uncertain local and state economy caused district officials to sit on the project, but overcrowded schools have pushed the issue back to the forefront.

Incoming kindergarten classes are much larger than outgoing eighth-grade classes, White said.

She said the cost of the new school, which will be built near neighborhoods where children are now attending Adam, Battles and Liberty elementary schools, would be footed by Certificates of Participation (COPs) loans that would be repaid from the general fund.

Approved project drawings include eight buildings and construction of a currently nonexistent Tea Rose Street on the western edge of the school campus, which does not yet have an exact address.

Santa Maria-Bonita will also soon be awarding a contract to build an additional $2.5 million wing to the new school in anticipation of relieving other crowded schools. White said that construction would be concurrent with building of the new school.

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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