Families that have waited decades for a new Scotts Valley Middle School finally have some good news, as officials say demolition and construction work could begin this fall. That’s more than two years after voters overwhelmingly approved $35 million in bonds for the project.
The new projected completion date is late 2018. That means the complex demolition, construction and renovation project at the Bean Creek Road campus likely will require further patience on the part of Scott Valley Middle School students, faculty and staff as they adjust to two years of construction disruptions.
Students who were eighth-graders at the school at the time of the June 2014 bond vote likely will have graduated high school before the new gym and library are opened at their old middle school.
Officials had hoped to begin construction last fall, but environmental studies required to show construction would not disturb the endangered Mount Hermon June Beetle caused a nearly one-year delay in the construction start.
Many of the middle school buildings are 70 years old. The campus is the site of the original Scotts Valley one-room school house built in 1872.
In the June 2014 election, 72 percent of Scotts Valley School District voters approved the $35 million bond measure for repairs, upgrades, and new construction at the campus, which serves about 620 students at the corner of Scotts Valley Drive and Bean Creek Road. The project provides classrooms and facilities provide a capacity for 650 students.
The bond provides $33 million for the renovation/construction of the middle school and $2 million for seismic projects at the elementary schools. School officials now say they need another $7 million from the State of California to complete the work, for a total price tag of $42 million.
A state initiative “School Bonds: Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities” is on the November 2016 ballot. The initiative seeks voter approval for a $9 billion State Construction Bond. If it passes, Scotts Valley will apply for $7 million from the state.
As required by state law under Proposition 39, an Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee has been formed to work with the school district on the renovation and construction project. They must review the District’s expenditure reports, inform the public of the expenditures, and present an annual written report to the Board of Education in a public session.
The final site plan for the middle school project shows four new buildings (gym, prefab administration building, library and prefab classrooms) to be constructed. It also calls for three classroom buildings and the multi-purpose room to be upgraded. Temporary modular classrooms also will be built.
An entomological consultant’s report on the June Beetle is expected to be completed in August, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated it will approve a habitat conservation plan allowing the construction to begin.
The project then goes to the Department of State Architecture and, if approved, permits will be issued and construction should start in the fall. It will have to be built in phases over two years and should be finished near the end of 2018.
What does this mean for the home owner’s real estate tax bill? It means that the home owner will pay approximately $57.00 per each $100,000 of assessed value of the property. It is good to remember that assessed value is based on the County’s official tax rolls, and not on the home’s market value, which is generally much higher.
The Scotts Valley Unified School District, through the efforts of students, teachers and parents, is an award-winning district. Last year the high school and middle school won the California Gold Ribbon Award and this year two elementary schools were awarded the same by the California Department of Education.