District moves forward on SVMS project after Election Day win
by Joe Shreve
Jun 12, 2014 | 1122 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Excitement is mounting throughout the Scotts Valley Unified School District as the prospect of a new middle school transitions from proposal to plan.

Although ballots from Tuesday's election are still being counted, most of the results appear to be a near-foregone conclusion, including Measure A, the $35 million bond measure proposal to replace the aging Scotts Valley Middle School campus.

As of Thursday morning, June 12, the website of the Santa Cruz County Elections Department had the total votes for Measure A sitting at 3,723 in favor, and 1,472 against — for a 71.67 to 28.33 percent margin.

“It's a really exciting time,” said SVMS Principal Mary Lonhart. “I was completely humbled by the time and energy people were willing to put in on behalf of the middle school.”

According to Scotts Valley Unified School District Superintendent Penny Weaver, once the election results are made official — which Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin said will be done by July 1 —the next phase will be for the school board members to decide how the project will be done.

The actual construction, she said, would likely begin in the summer of 2015.

In the meantime, Weaver said, the board will be spending the next year gathering ideas about possible designs, as well as selecting an architect and contractor.

“We plan to begin work on the design phase immediately,” she said. “We'll want that decision to be made before we put out requests for proposals."

Weaver said that, in the coming months, that the community's input and ideas for the new campus' design would be sought after.

“We plan for a lot of staff and community involvement,” she said. “We want to talk with them and get their input.”

Weaver said that the thoughts of students currently in third grade would be especially welcomed, as their class is set to be the first to graduate from the new campus when completed.

“For most people, I have said that the next school year is the planning and permit stage,” Lonhart said of the planned community outreach. “It's our opportunity to bring in the community and ask for their input and hopes and dreams and desires — it's really opened some doors to think about the educational setting.”

Weaver said that the board is also pushing forward on efforts to apply for funding from Sacramento that, if approved, could offset some of the costs of building the campus away from Scotts Valley homeowners, via a facility hardship grant, as well as a seismic mitigation grant.

“We want to keep the project moving,” she said. “The district is going to do all it can to procure funding from the state — that could offset our cost be several million dollars.”

Since the initial count on June 3, nothing has changed in any of the election’s results. Jim Hart’s lead in the sheriff’s-coroner race is unassailable at 64 percent of the vote, and a measure to slightly increase funding for county parks remains about 10 points beyond the 66 percent it needs to pass. All the local results can be found at www.votescount.com.

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