Alamo's Stone Valley Middle School is starting to get a long-awaited makeover, with construction crews this week knocking down decades-old buildings as part of the school's $37.5 million renovation project.
When the dust settles after a year-plus of construction, the Miranda Avenue campus is set to become home to a state-of-the-art, two-story classroom building, a new multipurpose room and a central quad area for students to gather during the school day.
"It's very exciting. The energy is tremendous," Stone Valley principal Jon Campopiano said during a tour of the campus Friday morning. "The kids are blown away watching it."
The San Ramon Valley Unified School District recently received the final go-ahead from the Division of the State Architect to proceed with the modernization project, which is funded through Measure D, the $260 million school facilities bond approved by local voters in November 2012.
Demolition work, marking the official start of construction, began earlier this week. Crews are tearing down aging, single-story classroom buildings, some of which dated back to the 1950s when the campus opened as a kindergarten to eighth-grade facility.
Stone Valley students and teachers last month relocated into two-dozen temporary portable classrooms placed on the southwest side of the nearly 10-acre school site.
"The commitment by staff to make this move, it has been seamless," said Campopiano, who is in his first year at Stone Valley. "I'm pleased to see the progress, how quickly it's going down."
School and construction officials hope the demolition will be completed in another week or so and related debris removed by the end of spring break, he said. Construction of the new buildings will follow.
The plans call for removing several rows of outdated single-story classrooms with a modernized, "L"-shaped, two-story building.
"Our new facility will ensure that all students can learn to their highest levels," Campopiano said in a news release earlier this week. "The 21st-century learning environment will allow students to create, collaborate and integrate technology as we incorporate Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards."
The design also features a new multipurpose building and a 39,300-square-foot outdoor quad, as well as maintains seven outdoor basketball courts and upgrades sewer and drainage.
The quad will open up the center of campus, brightening the area by letting in more light and providing an area for students to gather and socialize, according to school officials, who also point out that having school buildings around a central quad is more conducive to student safety, security and supervision.
Stone Valley's gym and administrative building are staying -- as is the old multipurpose room, to be converted into a new library, along with offices and other spaces. The environmental science garden is being relocated to the back of the school site, with its prior location smack dab in an access route used by Sausal Corp. construction crews.
Officials hope the revamped campus will be completed in time to open for the start of school in late-summer 2017.
In the meantime, Stone Valley classes are being held in temporary facilities.
The process of placing the portable classrooms at the campus spanned about two months, and school district staff moved equipment from the old classrooms to the short-term replacements over the Presidents Day weekend, Campopiano said.
Students and teachers started classes in the portables Feb. 16. There are 25 new temporary buildings at the campus -- 22 used for classrooms and two turned into the new library, plus a relocatable restroom.
Every student has classes in the new portables, although science, foods and band courses are being taught in a handful of older portables still on the campus near the gym and old multipurpose room, Campopiano said. Those older classrooms will be removed from the campus at the end of the project.
The first-year principal said he's thrilled the transition has gone safely and orderly while still maintaining a positive learning environment.
"Student learning has not gone down," Campopiano said. "You cannot disrupt the learning process."
"And the kids, I think, are having fun," he added, noting students often peered through the temporary chain-link fences to watch the construction work this week. "Our sixth-graders are thrilled to be the ones opening the new school (as eighth-graders)."
Stone Valley, located at 3001 Miranda Ave., serves about 600 students. At approximately 9.9-acres, it is between one-third and one-half the size of most other SRVUSD middle schools.
Check out more photos of the Stone Valley project on the DanvilleSanRamon.com Facebook page.