Sonora, CA — All 445 students and staff attended the ground breaking ceremony for a significant project this morning. A new building will replace the 10 classrooms destroyed by an electrical fire exactly one year ago on January 26, 2017. Superintendent Sharon Johnson says, “We’re excited, the kids have been moved from one classroom to another and then into the portables, and that’s difficult moving a whole classroom, on everybody. So we are all excited, and we really wanted the kids to understand that it’s actually starting.”
The muddy field where the old classrooms once stood by the office and gym is next to where students attend class in eleven temporary portables. The area was cleared and fenced off, with a few icy puddles this morning. The new furniture and technology in the temporary classrooms will be transferred to the new building when it is completed. Johnson states “Settling into the new building will give students and staff a sense of permanency and resilience that, as a team and community, they know they can get through challenging times and be stronger in the end.”
Royce Construction was awarded the contract for $3,789,450. Owner Evan Royce and his crew were on hand for the ceremony, and Royce, in a red Curtis Creek T-shirt, spoke at the student assembly. He told the students the equipment work would be kind of noisy and he was happy to be helping get them back into their classrooms. Royce also provided details on his construction schedule, “We are going to be starting Monday. We will be breaking ground and digging utility trenches and getting a little bit of dirt work done. We’ll see how the weather treats us, as we get started it may change quickly, but we will be ready for it, and try to get a jump start.” The project is slated to take one year, until the end of 2018. Royce also says it is a great opportunity close to home, and back where he graduated from in 1997. More details about the project from Royce are in the news story here.
The school is also still working with FEMA to receive grant funding to stabilize the hillside area beyond the parking lot where rainstorms triggered mudslides last year.