New schools await funds from state

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John Phillips CALIFORNIA CITY – Long-awaited high school and elementary school projects will go before the state school construction funding agency next month for approval. If the funding requests are approved for California City High School and Hacienda Elementary School, construction could start before Jan. 1. “We would anticipate full approval of both sites for the state match. Then we are ready to go to bid,” Superintendent Larry Phelps said. District officials don’t know exactly how much the campuses will cost, in light of increasing costs for materials and construction. The initial cost estimated for the high school was $23 million, and between $8 million and $9 million for the elementary school. The state is providing a 50 percent match for both projects. The state will fund 50 percent of the district’s eligibility for funding, not 50 percent of the ultimate cost. Phelps said there was no question that project costs have gone up. “For anyone to think that construction has gone down or is at the same rate it was four years ago is out of the market,” Phelps said. “It’s significantly more. How much more we don’t know.” One figure tossed out at the board meeting Tuesday was that the district was $10 million short to build the schools, but Phelps said that was just a guess. center_img “We will ask for an updated estimate from the architects when we get ready to go to bid. We know how much we have. We don’t know how much the state match will be,” Phelps said. Depending on what the state allocates in funding, it’s possible but not likely that the district could have enough money to complete both projects as originally planned. “It’s possible, but to be honest I highly doubt it, just because the cost of construction has gone up so much,” Phelps said. Like what Antelope Valley Union High School District did for its Eastside High School, Mojave may have to split the high school project in phases. “We are going to do as much as we can with the funds we get. How much it’s going to be depends on what costs come back,” Phelps said. In March 2002, California City voters approved a tax to finance a $16 million bond measure to build the elementary school and high school. The high school project was delayed several years by the discovery near the site of a protected desert tortoise. The high school site and elementary school site also had to be surveyed for unexploded bombs that might have been left over from World War II training in the area. No bombs were found. Designed for 600 students, California City High will help ease crowding at Mojave High School and eliminate the need for California City teens to travel to Mojave for school. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img