Deer Creek school children greeted by renovation project
Senior Staff Writer
Oaks and cedars tower above the idyllic Deer Creek Elementary School campus in Nevada City which, on first appearance, appears to need little to improve it.
Walk a bit closer and you will see buildings and grounds that have been used extensively in the school’s 30 years and which are in need of upgrades and improvements.
That’s exactly what the Nevada City School District began earlier this summer, when a two-phase, $3.3 million renovation project was started the day after students were let out in June.
Since then construction crews and painters have been busy on the first phase and managed to get the upper campus block of classrooms ready just in time for the return of students last week.
“The teachers had to pack their stuff in storage containers and then put it all back,” said Principal Susan Barry. “We had weekly meetings all summer (with contractor Tim Peterson Development of Sacramento) with the goal of getting the classrooms done, and we did.”
The first phase includes a remodel and expansion of the main office, which has Barry working out of a room full of construction supplies and equipment for the while. The lunchroom has been moved to the fitness center because the multipurpose room where the children eat is being renovated.
“We’re adding a performance stage that will be completed in February,” Barry said.
“The stage addition will have a tremendous impact on our school because we have a visual and performing arts program that is extensive,” Barry said. “It will have a new sound system, stage lighting and a handicapped elevator.”
The job has gone smoothly with the notable exception of hitting multiple boulders while trying to bore for underground lines, Project Manager Tim Shadko said.
“We ended up trenching everything,” Shadko said. “It’s going good now. I’d say we’re a little ahead of schedule.”
The first phase completion date is the end of the year. Phase two is scheduled for next summer, with completion expected before students return in mid-August.
Students are shielded by fences from the work still going on around the multi-purpose room, and noise levels don’t seem to bother them, Barry said.
“It’s great fun for the kids to see their school change and be a part of that change,” Barry said. She’ll even use the construction as a learning tool with plans to show students a concrete pumping operation in the near future.
Teachers and students on the upper portion of campus got to return to virtually brand-new classrooms last week, Barry said. Teachers on the lower portion of campus are eager to get their rooms renovated as well in phase two, she added.
The school originally had a $2.5 million budget for the project which came from local developer fees and state facilities bonds, according to school district Business Manager Donna Fitting.
“A the last minute, we got a significant increase from the state,” of $800,000, Fitting said. “Now we’ll have the ability to paint the whole school which wasn’t in the original plan.”
It will also allow Barry to do some landscaping on campus and on the barren dirt areas left by the construction.
She plans to have those areas seeded, “or I’ll have a bunch of muddy boys who want to slide in it,” the principal said. “We want to enhance what is already a beautiful school.”
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4237.
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