Modernization projects are already underway at Atascadero High School to refresh some classrooms with new technology, carpets, doors and other upgrades, but a slew of other improvements — some of which will transform the campus and make it feel more connected — could start as soon as this summer.
The Atascadero Unified School District board received an update Wednesday afternoon on a slew of potential renovation and construction projects proposed at the high school, which Superintendent Tom Butler called the “flagship” of the district.
The district board could consider approval of a conceptual master plan in two weeks. It includes a new science lab complex, new career technical education building, safer pedestrian paths and an improved student drop-off area, and a new field access ramp and bleachers renovation.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes is the proposed demolition of an old classroom building next to the school’s administration office. That building would be replaced with an outdoor plaza ringed by a concrete seating wall where students, teachers and staff could congregate.
“I’m excited about the possibility of this high school being a campus that they (students) can be proud of — that it looks nice and feels good,” said school board member Donn Clickard, who taught and served as athletic director at the high school.
The idea is to create a public space that visually unifies the campus.
Greg Ravatt, principal architect working on Atascadero High’s master plan, on proposal for new outdoor plaza
The projects, estimated at $35 million, would be funded by a $117 million school facilities improvement bond measure approved by voters in 2010 to fund projects at all district schools.
The district went back to voters four years later, asking them to reauthorize $58 million in general obligation bonds to complete the renovation projects in a timely period. The measure passed with 61 percent approval.
Projects are currently under construction at Atascadero Junior High and San Gabriel Elementary School, said Stuart Stoddard, the district’s director of support services. The district is also on the cusp of a contract for renovations at Santa Margarita Elementary.
At Atascadero High — a 44-acre campus that opened to students in 1923 — some projects have already been completed: the gym was re-roofed and its heating and air condition system modernized, the girls’ locker room also got a new roof, and interior renovations and technology upgrades were completed in 13 classrooms in the student services building.
Renovations of classrooms will continue, and construction could start as soon as this summer on a new career technical education building that would primarily house a welding shop, Stoddard said.
$35 millionEstimated cost of construction of renovation projects and upgrades at Atascadero High School
The design work has not yet started on the science buildings, so those probably wouldn’t be ready for students until fall 2018. Construction could start sooner on reconstructing a new “black box” theater that could seat about 150 people.
Only after the CTE and science buildings are done could the district move to demolish the old “B” building next to the administration building, replacing it with an open plaza.
“The idea is to create a public space that visually unifies the campus,” Greg Ravatt, a principal architect with Ravatt Albrecht & Associates Inc., told the school board Wednesday. “Having a seating wall near an open space is a natural place where people will stop.”
One board member, noting the state’s ongoing drought, asked whether grass was planned for the plaza as the renderings currently show.
“We designed with grass because we think with the budget we have we could put grass there,” Ravatt said.
Other board members and Stoddard noted the master plan is a flexible document, which is not “cut and poured in concrete,” as board member George Dodge put it.