111317 Site Plan New School

A site plan rendering for the proposed school development. The proposed school is set to feature 26 classrooms and will accommodate 750 TK-6 students.

Courtesy DLR Group

A new, two-story elementary school is in the works for the Santa Maria-Bonita School District, with a preliminary opening set for the 2020 school year. 

Members of the district's board of trustees voted late last month to approve the school site plan for the proposed project, the first in several steps needed to see the project to completion.

"The site plan essentially [identifies] where the corners of the buildings will be," said Matthew Beecher, assistant superintendent of Business Services. "The schematic design -- the walls, development [and] everything that happens inside the corners of the buildings -- is still being worked out."

Officials identified an undeveloped parcel in the northern section of the Enos Ranch development as the site for the new school. Discussions about placing a school in the area can be traced as far back as 1999, Beecher said, but took off after district voters approved Measure T in 2014. 

The proposed campus includes 26 classrooms to accommodate 750 TK-6 students, according to Beecher, and features designated space for the district's Therapeutic Learning Program. The new school will also feature outdoor learning space, a shared learning commons, a large multipurpose room and enclosed food service area. 

With the site plan now approved, the district will begin the long process of seeing the plan to completion. The district approved a preliminary environmental assessment earlier this year and is currently working to acquire the land for the campus. Once acquired, additional environmental evaluations will be completed.

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In addition to environmental regulations, the district will seek approval from the Division of the State Architect before sending the final plan to the California Department of Education. 

"We've already done some preliminary work to know they're going to be accepting the site itself," Beecher said of the site, "but we're going to be seeking design approval from the [Department of Education] as well."

According to Beecher, approvals from the DSA and CDE will support a final application filed with the Office of Public School Construction. Through the Office of Public School Construction, the district will be eligible for matching construction funds made available through Proposition 51.

Once completed, the school would be Santa Maria-Bonita's newest and 21st school.

Mathew Burciaga covers education in Santa Maria and the surrounding area for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @math_burciaga

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Santa Maria Times reporter Mathew Burciaga covers education for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.