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August 18, 2022

Summer projects underway in PVUSD

WATSONVILLE—As most schools throughout Pajaro Valley Unified School District go dormant for the summer, work crews will be performing maintenance and upgrade work in preparation for the 2022-23 school year.

A total of five of these schools will be getting major upgrades thanks to Measure L, the $150 million bond approved by voters in 2012 to pay for projects at every district site. This has included new roofs, parking lots and paint jobs. Perhaps most notably, the measure paid the $14 million tab for the long-awaited athletic field at Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

The bond, which placed $38 per $100,000 of assessed value for homeowners within PVUSD, passed largely with the help of students from Pajaro Valley High School, whose school lacked a sports field from the time it opened in 2004. 

With roughly $8 million remaining districtwide, the measure is nearing the end of its life, said PVUSD Chief Business Officer Clint Rucker.

The final major projects this summer will be at Bradley, Mintie White and Hall District elementary schools, Rucker says.

Bradley, which got an overall $3.2 million cut of the funds, is getting a new parking lot.

Hall District, which got $3.9 million, is also getting a new parking lot, in addition to a resurfacing of the student drop-off area. 

Mintie White and Alianza Charter School are getting new portable classrooms.

Renaissance High School will see repainting and repaving, in addition to an upgrade of the school’s athletic field.

In addition to Measure L work, Rucker says that Starlight Elementary School will see progress on its new Emeril Lagasse Culinary Garden and Teaching Kitchen, a project founded by the celebrity chef of the same name. That project was created to teach life skills and, possibly, launch the careers of aspiring chefs. 

The district is also completing work that comes thanks to Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, money from the federal government to help schools weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under that funding, Calabasas Elementary School will get roof and HVAC upgrades, while Ohlone and Landmark elementary schools will get new roofs.

Duncan Holbert School will get new portable classrooms, with money slated for Watsonville Prep charter before that school found its own accommodations, Rucker said.

Rucker says that the district still has roughly $150 million in unfunded facilities needs, including a performing arts center at PV High, and a softball field at Watsonville High School.

District officials hope the governor will release $1 billion for school facilities statewide when he finalizes his budget next month, which for PVUSD would mean roughly $2 million.

“There are still some larger projects, and there is not enough money remaining to do them,” he said.

Rucker said that the board and district officials have briefly discussed bringing a new bond to voters, but there have been no concrete plans about when this might happen.

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