H-SANTA MARIA

Jun 5, 2013 7:00 PM by April Hansen, KSBY News

SMBSD breaks ground on new elementary school

A new school is set to be built in the Santa Maria Bonita School District.

The $20 million project will build a K-6 grade school on the southwest side of the city near Liberty Elementary, which will bring the total number of schools in the district to 20.

Superintendent Phil Alvarado says the district is overcrowded and the majority of this problem is in the elementary schools.

Currently, there are four junior high schools and 16 K-6 schools in the community.

The district hopes adding another elementary school will help alleviate this problem by trimming down class sizes and taking stress off of school resources.

It's a plan that's been in the works since 2008.

The Santa Maria Bonita School District took its first scoops of dirt to make it a reality at a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday.

"We were able to make it happen," said Superintendent Phil Alvarado.

Superintendent Alvarado says the district received $9.2 million in state money to fund this project.

He says enrollment is at record numbers and the district needs more space.

"Our schools are big. If you were to look at our enrollment across the 19, you would find that our elementary schools run between 800 to 1,000 students for the most part," said Superintendent Alvarado.

Alvarado says those numbers helped the district find the source of growth in students.

"Elementary is where our bubble of enrollment is the most impacted. That bubble will progress through the ranks as the years go by. In other words, first graders become 2nd graders and become 3rd graders," said Superintendent Alvarado.

Students from Liberty Elementary welcomed their sister school at the ceremony today.

"They were very excited to be here today to get to be part of history," said Linn Schrogin, Liberty Elementary School teacher.

Schrogin says she hopes this school will create more room for learning.

"We are looking at needing three more schools total so this would certainly do a lot to alleviate overcrowding in the classrooms," said Schrogin.

The district is expecting to enroll about 650 students.

Construction is set to start on Monday, June 10.

The district has also partnered with the city.

There will be a city park adjacent to the school with soccer and baseball fields that will be available for school and community use.

A name hasn't been selected for the new school yet.

The district will be asking for suggestions from the community.

A public meeting will be scheduled before the school board makes a final decision.

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