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Sonora High In Talks To Lease Out Historic Dome

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Sonora, CA — There is some new movement in Sonora High School’s efforts to find a suitor for the historic dome property on Barretta Road.

The former elementary school site was built in 1909 and no longer meets the state’s legal standards to house students. In 2019, the Sonora High School District formed a committee to review the best use of the property, moving forward. The end recommendation was to either sell or donate the facility. There was no initial interest by local government agencies, which had the first crack at acquiring the site.

On Mother Lode Views this past weekend, Sonora High Superintendent Ed Pelfrey, provided an update, “We received an initial proposal of principles for a lease from the Historic Dome Preservation Committee last month and we are working on terms that may help preserve the dome, and be in the best interest of the students of the district.”

We reported in July of 2022 that the Historic Dome Preservation Committee, a recently formed non-profit made up of local community members, is hoping to renovate the building and turn it into a regional art and cultural center.

Under the proposal, the existing Cassina High and Theodore Bird High schools (housed in the buildings to the south) would continue to be operated by the district, and Pelfrey says the lease or sale would be for the dome and two buildings to the north (in recent years they were used by Tuolumne County Arts).

Pelfrey says there are no timelines currently as to when a decision will be made as this is the first time the district has gone through this type of process (finding a group to take over a historic building).

“It is going to take awhile, because it is complicated,” he notes. “We are trying to work to make sure that the interests of everyone involved, the dome committee, the community, and the students, are all met. We’ll work back and forth, collaboratively, to try and find a lease that works to meet all of those stakeholders’ needs.”

After negotiations are completed, and if leaders of both sides agree to terms, a vote will be carried out by the Sonora High Board of Trustees.

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