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Chavez school delayed to allow for permanent structures

January 09, 2001|By KELLY RAUSCH, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The possibility of adding classroom wings to existing schools and delaying the opening of Cesar Chavez Elementary for two years was discussed Monday by the Calexico Unified School District Board of Trustees.

The board is now seeking to construct a permanent facility to open in 2004 at the Chavez Elementary site. This plan will require constructing classroom wings at two existing elementary schools to open in September 2002 and a possible third wing in September 2003 to accommodate a growing student population while Chavez Elementary is built.

As originally planned, Chavez Elementary would have opened in September 2001 as a collection of portable buildings. Delays in obtaining state approval of the site pushed the projected opening back to September 2002.

During the Dec. 11 board meeting, district Superintendent Roberto Moreno presented trustees two alternatives for construction of the school: opening with portables in 2002 or building a permanent school at the site to open in 2004.


The second alternative would save the district $2 million and advance construction of permanent classroom wings by two or more years, Moreno told board members.

The decision to forgo the temporary structure came after the district consulted with its architect, David Coup.

"Is it worth putting a $2 million investment into a temporary structure that will only get us two years use?" Moreno asked.

Rather than paying for a temporary school, the district decided to put the money into building permanent wings at existing schools, Moreno said.

Though the board made no final recommendations Monday, Moreno suggested the best locations for additional classroom wings would be at Rockwood Elementary and William Moreno Junior High School.

The two eight-classroom wings would cost the district $1.4-1.8 million each.

"We feel Rockwood is most appropriate because the area between the kindergarten and next wing is relatively large and could allow the least construction impact on the school," Moreno said.

Moreno is being considered for additional classrooms instead of De Anza Junior High because it has a smaller student population and a larger site, Moreno explained.

Moreno has newer and larger facilities, such as its multi-purpose room and gymnasium, making it more conducive to additional students, Moreno said.

The additional classroom wings could force the district to redraw geographic boundaries at the junior high level, Moreno said.

The issue of redistricting will come up again at the district's Feb. 13 board meeting.

Also during Monday's meeting, Simon Lopez, the district's director for modernization and new school facilities, informed the board that soil samples had been taken from the proposed Chavez Elementary site and they are undergoing analysis.

Staff Writer Kelly Rausch can be reached at 337-3442.

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