A $32 million elementary school in New Atwater, Calif. breaks new ground

From left, Atwater Elementary School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Schiber, Administrator Larry Whitney, Administrator Scott Lee, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Aaron Delworth, Administrator Mary Ellen Arana and Administrator Jessica Reed attend the Juniper Elementary groundbreaking in Atwater, CA on February 11, 2022.

From left, Atwater Elementary School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Schiber, Administrator Larry Whitney, Administrator Scott Lee, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Aaron Delworth, Administrator Mary Ellen Arana and Administrator Jessica Reed attend the Juniper Elementary groundbreaking in Atwater, CA on February 11, 2022.

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The Atwater Elementary School District broke ground on the new site for Juniper Elementary Friday afternoon, days after the school board approved a sale-leaseback agreement to help pay for the district’s ninth school.

The school will be built on a 10-acre site at Juniper Avenue and Bridgewater Street, across from Joan Faul Park in the town of Atwater.

“It’s a growing community,” said Sandra Schiber, superintendent of the Atwater Elementary School District. “I believe people are happy with the education system, so that’s just another thing we can be proud of.”

The new school is expected to accommodate approximately 600 students from transitional kindergarten through sixth grade. There will be four classrooms for TK and kindergarten and 21 classrooms serving grades one through six.

In addition, the school will have 45 employees, including administrators, support staff and teachers. The school will have administrative offices, a multipurpose building and sports fields.

The school board selected CT Brayton & Sons, Inc. as the contractor for the project after announcing a request for proposals in October.

The company submitted the best proposal through a competitive bidding process and the contract, according to district officials, is worth $16.2 million.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $32 million, with the remaining funding for the project coming from the $20 million Measure E bond passed in 2018 and approximately $12 million from the school district’s own coffers.

The current payment schedule, according to the sublease agreement, will require the district to make 19 payments starting next month. The final payment is scheduled for September 30, 2023, although a final payment schedule, along with the amount of monthly lease payments, will be submitted to the board for approval at the next board meeting.

Lease-lease is a way to finance new campus construction, in which the school district leases the property to the construction company for a small amount.

The construction company pays for all construction costs at the start of the project, and the school district reimburses the company through monthly lease payments for a specified period – in this case, about a year and a half, depending on the lease- sale-leaseback agreement documents.

“We are very excited to launch this project and will begin to see activity on the site by the end of this month,” said Aaron Delworth, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services.

“What really comes down to a project of this size, rent-leaseback is usually a better option. Contractors are part of the process from the start, whereas usually with design-build, the contractor only gets involved when everything is ready to go.

CT Brayton & Sons, Inc., headquartered in Escalon, just north of Modesto, was awarded a pre-construction services contract at the regular school board meeting Dec. 14 before the assignment contract- lease itself is awarded to the Atwater Elementary School Board. February 8 meeting.

The other two contractors to submit full proposals were Lodi-based F&H Construction and Acme Construction, headquartered in Modesto.

Contractors for the project were also approved at the Feb. 8 board meeting, and more than half are from Fresno, Merced and Stanislaus counties, school officials said at the meeting. meeting.

Construction is expected to begin in March and the new school is expected to open in August 2023, officials said.

“Students, families, all of these homes here are going to benefit,” said Scott Lee, Atwater Elementary School Board Administrator for Zone 3. “We look forward to having a new school in 2023.”

The new school will also have amenities such as electric vehicle charging stations, a STEM lab integrated into the learning resource center, a large kitchen and an integrated indoor stage for school productions. All school facilities would be equipped with solar panels.

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