Work crews are installing underground utilities and creating building pads at the northwest corner of Akers Street and Riggin Avenue in Visalia for a new middle school.
A fifth middle school is needed to relieve pressure on Green Acres Middle School, which has about 1,200 students instead of 800, said Jeff Ramsay,Visalia Unified director of facilities.
Visalia has a population of about 129,500, with much of the growth taking place in the city’s northwest.
The $38 million campus will include a 68,000-square-foot classroom building, 12,000-square-foot gym and locker rooms, and 12,000-square-foot multi-use building.
In 2012, voters approved Measure E bond money, which will cover half the project’s cost, with state matching money expected to pick up the rest.
The school, which has yet to be named, will open in August 2016.
Meanwhile, new attendance boundaries for Visalia middle schools are being prepared by a demographer after public input. Maintaining similar demographics in each district is a guiding principle, Ramsay said.
Next, the district will seek bids for the main construction contract, with parking lots and concrete work to follow.
The middle school campus will cover about 35 acres of a 100-acre parcel. It’s expected that a high school will be built on the remaining acreage some day.
HONOREE: Donna Martin of Visalia has been named Educator of the Year by the Down Syndrome Association of Central California.
Martin is a former Tulare County Office of Education program manager for the severely handicapped and now serves as a Visalia Unified trustee. She’s currently special education program director for Fresno Pacific University at the Visalia center.
Carolyn Tellalian of Fresno nominated Martin, citing her groundbreaking work helping parents enroll special needs children into regular education classrooms.