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East County Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2015 4 years ago

Bashaw Elementary prepares for first-class makeover

An expanded cafeteria and a possible building addition that would house 10 classrooms are part of a $10 million renovation.
by: Amanda Sebastiano Staff Writer

Group photos of every fifth-grade class to graduate from William H. Bashaw Elementary since it opened in 1985 line the school’s walls.

The wear of nearly 600 students walking the halls each year has contributed to the school’s worn and weary look of outdated carpets and equipment.

But on the eve of its 30th birthday, Bashaw Elementary is preparing for a $10 million makeover using money from the half-cent sales tax.

The school, located off Caruso Road and adjacent to the Braden River, hasn’t received large-scale renovations since it opened, although it has undergone minor projects.

Renovations could include adding onto a space large enough to house 10 classrooms onto the school’s main building, Building One. 

The addition would replace the nine portables that currently line the school’s backyard.

Bennett and the project’s team are comparing costs of the addition to the cost of bringing in new replacement portables.

He believes eliminating the portables would improve the school’s aesthetics, bringing it in line with other East County schools that have received renovations since the sales tax passed in 2002. (See sidebar)

“Many of the schools out east are beautiful,” Bennett said. “The students and teachers at Bashaw deserve to learn in a nice facility just as much as the other students do. It's going to look like a new school.”

Renovations would also expand the cafeteria to hold more than 300 additional students. Since it opened, the school hasn’t offered programs and plays that involve every grade level because the cafeteria’s capacity was 266 — just one-third of the student population.

The annual Art and Music Festival the school hosts is designed only for fifth-graders, because of spacing limitations.

The new cafeteria will extend further toward the car rider loop area and will accommodate a larger stage for plays and other productions.

Bashaw will receive new carpeting and lighting fixtures throughout the school, along with new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as part of the renovations.

The roof will either be repaired or replaced, depending on cost and need.

New desks, cafeteria tables and other furniture account for $300,000 of the proposed budget.

Bennett has been meeting every two weeks with representatives from the architecture and building companies responsible for the project: Harvard Jolly Architecture, Inc. and Willis A. Smith Construction. The project will take nearly two years to complete.

Bennett hopes construction will begin by February or March.

 “People in our community will appreciate a fresh school to be proud of,” Bennett said. “We’re all taxpayers. It’s nice to see the results of those dollars being brought back to our neighborhood.”

Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected].


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