Atascadero district decides to refurbish junior high

Atascadero Junior High School will get a new look but keep its current site, school board members decided Tuesday night.The Atascadero Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a massive overhaul of the junior high school campus at Lewis and Olmeda avenues.

“It’s such a win-win for our students,” school board President Corinne Kuhnle said. “This board has truly put students first.”

Constructing new classrooms while retaining the school’s gym, cafeteria and other facilities will cost about $30.9 million, about $20 million less than building a new junior high school on a different site and almost $15 million more than updating all existing buildings at the current site.

Costs would be covered by the $117 million school improvement bond measure approved by local voters in November 2010.

Discussion of a possible move comes as Atascadero Unified is considering a new grade configuration for the junior high school.

In January, the district’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommended expanding the school’s student population to include sixth graders. Seventh and eighth graders would continue to attend classes there.

Kuhnle said the district will hold a public workshop on grade reconfiguration at a yet-to-be-determined date.