Spirits were high at San Ramon Valley High School during unseasonably gloomy weather on Thursday when school district officials, students and community members gathered to celebrate the Danville school’s new $64.49 million, three-story classroom building -- which is on track to open for the start of the new school year.
A project three years in the making, the SRVHS classroom building is the school district’s largest project funded through Measure D -- the $260 million school facilities bond passed by district voters in November 2012. And, according to San Ramon Valley Unified School District Superintendent Rick Schmitt, it is a perfect example of how large development projects are meant to be conducted.
“It’s community investment, it's taxpayers stepping up and investing in public education, it’s the staff, it's a contractor that just knows how to get stuff done,” Schmitt told DanvilleSanRamon.com. “And the kids and staff have been incredibly patient throughout this process, and living in portables for three years. This is the way it is supposed to be.”
As a part of the district’s efforts to modernize their school campuses, the SRVHS endeavor was initiated in order to remove and replace 45 single-story class spaces with a larger number of classrooms and laboratories in a new three-story building that will offer more square footage, consolidated into a smaller footprint.
The building covers 105,000 square feet and is comprised of three stories worth of classrooms, administrative offices, a student leadership center and other facilities will be distributed throughout the building’s three wings.
Classrooms will have an average size of approximately 960 square feet apiece, with variations for specialty classrooms, science labs, art studios and special education services.
The building does have some work left to wrap up -- currently about 90-95% complete -- but it is on track to be ready for the 2019-20 school year, according to Gary Black, SRVUSD’s assistant superintendent of facilities and operations.
“This has gone so smoothly and I guess we can say that now,” Black said. “Everything has gone really, really well on this project and again that is because all of the people involved … To all of you who pay taxes and our bonds this was a fantastic investment into our community.”
District officials say that teachers and administrators will begin moving into the building later this month with full occupancy expected to be achieved in time for the new school year.
“What I hear over and over is that we are on time and on budget, so that is awesome and we are super proud of what we saw today,” SRVHS principal Jason Krolikowski said to approximately 100 community members who gathered to view the new buildings open house on Thursday. “I'm incredibly proud to be the principal here at San Ramon Valley. I never knew (SRVHS) before we had portables so it's very neat to see what it is now, what it's becoming… it’s going to enhance everything we do here.”
Krolikowski told attendees that earlier in the day the school held a special soft-opening strictly for students and staff, and the positive reaction made the challenges of dealing with construction for the past three years worth the effort.
“Ultimately, I think if you could see the faces of our kids as they walked through this building, as they walked up the stairs and walked down, all of the dust and the sound and the hardships that we faced, it made it all worth it,” he said
Next up for the SRVHS is the repairing of the athletic fields where the temporary classrooms currently sit, and the construction of a new parking lot between the new building and the Iron Horse Regional Trail. The new parking lot will be built in collaboration with the town of Danville who have provided $1.4 million in funding to create 240-space expansion of available parking.
“This has been a dream come true for the town of Danville, this has been absolutely incredible partnership,” Danville Mayor Robert Storer said at the open Hhuse. “We've contributed $1.4 million and received 240 parking spaces during a time when most kids going to high school (were) parking in our streets downtown; we'll be able to move those kids back on campus.”