SPUSD Board updated on new Harvest at Limoneira K-8 school campus

February 01, 2017
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Unified School District Board was updated on plans for the new K-8 school at Harvest at Limoneira and how the flat, 10.5-acre site will be used to serve future students.

The board reviewed and approved the schematic drawings in July 2015, and received the last update of the plans in June 2016. 

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Donna Rose told the board at the January 18 meeting the plan submittal process with the Division of the State Architect (DSA) has begun, a process that will take several months before approval. The estimated DSA completion is July, which will correspond with the opening of escrow, and the submission of the funding eligibility application. 

Rose also reported that California Department of Education (CDE) plan and site applications have been submitted and are estimated to complete within the same time frame or earlier. 

Architect Scott Gaudineer of Flewelling and Moody Architects and Tim Jones of Lewis Limoneira Community Builders noted they had been working closely together on the plans for what is the first new school in the area since the 1960s.

The 10.5 acre site is flat with no grade changes required, “very unique” noted Gaudineer.

There will be nine, single-story buildings and a total of 74,578 square feet including a gymnasium and 89 parking spaces planned for the campus that is planned for about 900 students. Although open to courtyards, there will be covered walkways; on rainy days, students will be able to walk from one end of the campus to the other without getting wet in “a cloistered element.” After hours will offer safe and secure gathering places.

The total campus cost will be about $29.8 million at a cost per square foot of $337.  

Security is a priority and has been planned for front entry and perimeter of the campus but will offer a very “open” appearance.

The design is influenced by the Mediterranean style that reflects the history and is similar to buildings in Santa Paula and the region.

“That stops at the outside,” said Gaudineer, as “inside is a very much 21st century school…”

There will be a large multipurpose room with a stage, an outdoor stage area, landscaping including many trees that could include citrus.

Gaudineer said other Santa Paula campuses are notable for their “beautiful trees” including colored varieties, which will be replicated at the new school where water conservation will be incorporated.

There will also be some hard-scape to avoid landscaping in small or awkward areas.

A large field area for active sports as well as basketball and other courts for handball, sports seating and other recreational amenities will be opportunities for joint use with the city. 

Joint use is already under discussion for the “substantial gymnasium” with plenty of restrooms that Gaudineer said is already the subject of joint use discussions with the city.

The kindergarten classes will have their own, enclosed play area.

There will be a Literary Center, music classroom, computer room, book room, conference room, and others are being planned including a large kitchen to afford students a view of some of the activities that Gaudineer said could foster a student interest in cooking and nutrition. 

Following the presentation Gaudineer was asked if the school would be built in phases to accommodate different grade levels.

“We anticipate building the whole thing,” he noted as the classrooms can be split and shared as need be until full enrollment is reached.

Jones noted that he started on the project in October 2015: “We put the schedule together and thought I had all this time on my hands but it’s really crunch time now.”

The way the school “looks is very important to us…it will be the focal point of the community, the first thing they will see is the school and the park.”

Jones said Limoneira-Lewis anticipates the first home models will open in 2018 and move-ins start in about September of that year.

The school he noted, “Would open in the fall of 2019,” a “go, no go decision in the spring of 2018,” to determine if the population would support opening the new campus.

The school will require additional state money to become a K-8 campus, but SPUSD officials are confident the district will receive the funding; if not, the school would be constructed as a K-6.

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