Atwater Elementary School District Opens New School – Merced County Times


The Atwater Elementary School District celebrated the first stage of construction of a 50,000 square foot transitional kindergarten through grade six on a 10-acre site next to Joan Faul Park in Atwater with a ceremony groundbreaking ceremony on Juniper Avenue and Bridgewater Street.

Juniper Elementary, the ninth elementary, will be the district’s first new school since 1995 and is scheduled to open the second week of August in 2023. The school, which is the result of the 2018 transition from a contract of $20 million bond, Measure E, will have 25 classrooms (4 for TK/Kinder and 21 for grades 1-6), a multi-purpose building and offices for administrators.

Those wearing hard hats and happily digging into the dirt with their shovels to proclaim impending construction were Atwater Elementary School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Schiber, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Aaron Delworth, Board Chair school teacher Jessica Reed and board members Larry Whitney, Scott Lee and Mary Ellen Arana.

Dr. Schiber introduced and thanked board members and other local dignitaries, including two avid Measure E supporters, Penny Weaver and Sylvia Nelson, and retired finance administrator Linda Levesque.

After the ceremony, Dr. Schiber told The Times that the school was being built to ease overcrowding in the district and would remove Shaffer, Thomas Olaeta and Elmer Wood.

She imagines students walking to school from the neighborhood across the street.

She exclaimed, “It will mainly be a school walk. What better place to build a school than next to beautiful Joan Faul Park! Joan Faul has been such a friend who loves education and has made education her life.

School board president Jessica Reed, who has a son in eighth grade at Mitchell Senior and is a teacher in Delhi, spoke at the ceremony and quoted Hazrat Khan, a Sufi teacher, as saying: “Some people are looking for a beautiful place, while others beautify a place.

Reed exclaimed, “Our staff will make this place great! Children and staff will be happy.

Delworth told The Times: “We approved the site in early 2019. As we were going through the bonding process, the board visited three properties we owned and others for sale, and this one came up. felt like home.”

Outlining the construction schedule, he told The Times: “Site mobilization will begin on February 21 and you will see construction trailers and heavy equipment being brought in. Leveling will begin in early March. In July 2023 the majority of the construction will be complete and by August 1, 2023 it will be fully completed.

The rapid construction is the result of an innovative decision.

Delworth said: “The prefabricated buildings will be built offsite and they will come in pieces. The cafeteria, assembly facilities and multi-purpose facilities will be constructed of stick. This not only saves money but also time as they will be doing the offsite work while the onsite work is being done. »

The school district is responsible for the remaining $12 million needed for the $32 million project.

Another innovative idea used on this project is sale-leaseback, in which the school district leases the school site to a contractor for a nominal fee. After the rental period, ownership of the property reverts to the school district.

Delworth explained that at least 50% of the contractors were chosen from the region, which the board considered important.

Naming the builders, Delworth told The Times, “CT Brayton is the general contractor, the classroom construction contractor is Meehleis Modular and our architectural firm is Teter, LLP.”

Attending the ceremony were Meehleis Modular Pete Cullen, Von Davis and Atwater alumna Carmen Campo, and Teter, Dustan Bagliere, Dana Stahl and Robert Dinuzzo.


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