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The first steel column of what soon will become Santa Maria's newest public elementary school was erected Monday, nearly four months after construction officials and administrators from the Santa Maria-Bonita School District broke ground on the project.

Over the next 13 months, crews will transform the largely undeveloped parcel in the 113-acre Enos Ranch development into a 60,000-square-foot campus with 26 classrooms for as many as 900 students in transitional kindergarten through sixth grade.

Matt Beecher, the district's assistant superintendent for Business and Finance, said he's looking forward to working with the contractor — AMG & Associates Inc., the company that built Jimenez Elementary School in 2015 — to see the project to completion.

"The entire AMG team is focused on saving time and delivering a solid project for the community of Santa Maria," Beecher said. "I am very excited to watch the school start to take shape over the next few months."

Crews have worked around the clock to prepare the site for its structural steel frame since the late February groundbreaking. Plumbing and electrical work have been routed, project Superintendent Rudy Jimenez said, and building pads have been completed for the three main structures: the kindergarten building, the multipurpose building, and a two-story complex housing administrative offices and a majority of the classrooms.

"My goal is to have the buildings up and roofed before the rainy season hits me again," Jimenez said, explaining that crews hope to have the steel frames complete by mid September and roofs up shortly afterward. "That way we could be on the inside during rainy events and not lose our schedule."

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More than 34,000 cubic yards (1,200 truckloads) of dirt will be imported to fill in the site by the time the project is done.

Approximately $30 million of the $51 million project will be financed through Measure T, a $45 million bond measure approved by district voters in 2014. Local developer fees and state matching funds provided through Proposition 51, the $500 million statewide ballot measure passed in 2016, will offset the remaining cost.

The new, state-of-the-art campus will feature movable glass walls and adaptable furniture to give teachers additional flexibility to design classroom lessons. Community and shared-use facilities like softball and soccer fields are also included at the site.

The school is scheduled to open by August 2020. Once complete, the campus will be Santa Maria-Bonita's 21st school site.

Reach reporter Mathew Burciaga at 805-739-2205 or mburciaga@leecentralcoastnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @mathewburciaga

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Education Reporter

Mathew Burciaga is a Santa Maria Times reporter who covers education, agriculture and public safety. Prior to joining the Times, Mathew ran a 114-year-old community newspaper in Wyoming. He owns more than 40 pairs of crazy socks from across the globe.