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New elementary school breaks ground in El Dorado Hills

48,000-square-foot facility being built in Blackstone Master Planned Development
By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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While school districts across the state struggle with closing deficits, an El Dorado Hills school was busy breaking ground last week. The Buckeye Union School District broke ground for a $15-million elementary school to be built on a 13-acre parcel located in the Blackstone Master Planned Development within the Valley View Specific Plan. “This is fabulous,” said Vicki Barber, El Dorado County Office of Education superintendent. “This was a courageous move in the beginning and the district really took time to make it well thought out. … This is a positive move for the district, community and economy.” Barber said Teresa Wenig, Buckeye Union School District retiring superintendent, played a major role in the planning of this of this new school to make it a positive addition for the growing community. The start of construction activities is the result of a collaborative effort between the Buckeye Union School District, the State of California School Facility Program and the developer of Blackstone, West Valley LLC. West Valley LLC is a partnership between AKT Development and Lennar Communities. Larry Gualco, Lennar division president, said this development will bring positive changes for the community. “Anytime you build a new school it brings a new life and energy to the community,” Gualco said. West Valley LLC and the District worked together to develop the funding for the new elementary school, including the formation of a Mello Roos Facility District to provide for one-half of the funds needed to acquire and construct the school, said Ray Boike, director of facilities with the district. The school district’s application and eligibility for funds within the State School Facility Program provides the remaining half of the funds that are needed. None of the proceeds used in this project can be used for any other purpose than constructing facilities, he said. “We feel that this is a desirable place to live and grow,” Boike said. “People will continue to come here.” The 48,000-square-foot school, which is being constructed by Broward Builders, includes 27 classrooms, a library and administrative building and a joint-use multi-purpose room. The school is also being constructed to meet the criteria of the California High Performance School (CHPS) construction guidelines. To meet the criteria, the school must incorporate sustainable building materials and techniques, utilize recycled materials, incorporate recycling in the construction process, and exceed the requirements of Title 24 for energy efficiency, which ultimately results in a healthier instructional environment, Boike said. The joint-use multi-purpose room which is about 2,500 feet larger than a typical elementary school multi-purpose room, was eligible for an additional grant by the state due to Buckeye’s long standing partnership with the El Dorado Hills Community Services District, said Wenig. The state program supports these partnerships for the construction of facilities for the community to use when not being utilized by the school. The grant provides for 50 percent of the cost for the additional size, and the two joint-use partners contribute the remaining 50 percent. The district is due to receive $9,2225,872 from the State School Facilities Program for the construction of the school. Broward Builders provided the lowest bid for the project at $15,687,000, Boike said. The school is scheduled for completion in 2013, Boike said. Construction will start in coming weeks. “This is a positive move for the community,” Boike said. “It will be a full blown community center here … there is a lot of money in this land.”