Rendering of new school campus
A design illustration shows plans for a new Santa Maria elementary school campus on the Enos Ranch development. (AMG & Associates rendering)

A familiar firm will build the growing Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s 21st campus.

During a special meeting Wednesday night, the district’s school board awarded the $40.7-million construction contract to AMG & Associates, a Santa Clarita company that built the district’s 20th school, Jiménez Elementary School.

“It’s good to be here in Santa Maria doing this project for you,” said Albert Giacomazzi, AMG president and chief executive officer.

The new elementary school is planned for the Enos Ranch development, which is home to numerous stores and restaurants north of Betteravia Road between Highway 101 and College Drive.

While the commercial sites have been completed, the development plan also calls for several auto dealerships, apartments, a school and a park.

The new elementary school, between College and Shepard drives, will be funded by Measure T, a $45-million bond measure approved by voters in 2014.

AMG & Associates previously built Jiménez School, which opened in the fall of 2015 at 708 Miller St. and was named for immigrant brothers Roberto and Dr. Francisco Jiménez.

Matt Beecher, assistant superintendent of business services, said the district and AMG had a great working relationship on that project, and since then.

“I wanted to give you my personal assurances as president of our company that this is an extremely important project for us as well,” Giacomazzi said of the new school.

“Well, it’s a very important project for us as well, so we want you do the very best you can because our kids deserve the very best,” board member Jody Oliver said.

AMG narrowly beat out Santa Barbara-based ProWest Constructors, which submitted a bid of nearly $41 million.

With just $254,000 separating the two, ProWest initially challenged the awarding of the bid to AMG, but withdrew the objection before Wednesday afternoon’s meeting, according to Beecher.

Another firm, Bernards Bros. Inc. in San Fernando, originally submitted the lowest bid of about $37 million, but later asked to withdraw due to a large clerical error.

Awarding the contract marked a key milestone for the Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s effort to build the new school.

“We’ve been working for I would say the better part of two years on getting to this point,” Beecher said.

While the bid is $41 million, he said, the district has paid $7 million for the property and $1.5 million for design. He estimated construction oversight will cost $700,000, while furniture and equipment will add up to about $1.5 million.

That puts the total cost at $51 million.

“Which, for elementary schools being built in 2019, is a pretty good price,” Beecher said.

The district also has completed Measure T construction projects at its older campuses to the tune of $7 million, he added.

“We’re going to be pulling from different pots of money that we set aside for capital projects and other things to make sure that we fulfill this promise to the voters,” Beecher said.

The Santa Maria-Bonita School District has more than 16,800 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade.

Work on the new campus could begin soon, with plans for the first students to attend classes there in August 2020.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.