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Worth the wait: $20 million campus almost ready
Students who will be attending the new Summit Charter Academy Lombardi Campus will need to wait a little longer as the school might not be ready until mid-March.
But once it opens — it’ll be worth the wait.
The new $20 million, four-years-in-the-making school, located on Lombardi Street in northwest Porterville, is a state-of-the-art, high-performance, green, two-story configuration school.
“It’s exciting for our students,” said Treasure Weisenberger, SCA Lombardi’s principal. “Our students who live near by say they have driven by and looked at the school. Others have also driven by on the weekends. We’re all looking forward to the day we get to move into the new campus.”
The delay is the fourth staff and students have received — the Burton School District originally thought the campus would be ready by August 2012 for the new school year. It was not.
When school opened, the school’s 550 students were temporarily housed on the campus of Summit Charter Collegiate Academy’s newly-completed two-story educational building — one with a science lab, library, drama room with stage, and numerous other state-of-the-art features. An additional eight portables were used.
The setbacks moved the school’s completion to December, then January and now carries an anticipated date of completion by late February or early March.
“They are working on what I call the ‘pretties’ — the cabinets and the fixtures,” said Wendy Jones, chief financial officer for BSD. “The air conditioning is on but needs to be flushed out. Everything is up and working. We’re just working on the finishing touches.”
Currently, the site is waiting on more shade-structure panels, part of the building’s green status.
Jones and Weisenberger walked through the new campus Friday, pointing out the main lobby with doors leading to a multipurpose room and cafeteria, the administration building and hallways leading to the library and classrooms.
The lower floor will be for the younger grades, the second floor for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. Kindergartners have their own special wing consisting of several classrooms complete with tiny counter and bathroom fixtures and rooms with walls lined with tack boards.
“It’s a closed campus. The gates and doors will be kept locked and the only way in is through the office,” Jones said.
The administration offices look onto a court yard — one surrounded by four walls with a door leading to the library.
“We’ll have benches and potted plants,” Weisenberger said. “Teachers can take advantage on using it on nice days.”
The courtyard is only one attention-grabbing feature. What really makes the school unique is that it is a LEED School — a voluntary, consensus-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — the first in the Valley.
“All of the products used to build it have to have a certain percentage of being recyclable,” Jones said. “We had to meet a lot of criteria to reach this level. We have people on site, looking over the construction and the design and monitoring all the recyclables.”
It is not just materials used, Jones said, but also the design.
The building is designed to take advantage of the sun, accepting the maximum amount of natural sun, while keeping the building warm or cool, depending on the time of year.
A building must be constructed using 23 percent recyclable materials to be considered green, said Cindy Lynch, project secretary for Bush Construction of Hanford.
“We’re at 41.7 percent. Our construction waste is 95-percent recyclables, including our concrete and asphalt,” Lynch said. “We also have thick concrete walls, filled with insulation. There is seven inches of concrete, foam in the middle, and another seven inches of concrete. Regular schools have an approximate nine inches of wood walls.”
That alone is not enough to earn the designation; everything is Earth-friendly. The materials used — from the paint to the carpeting and flooring, and any glue used — can not have a scent.
District administrators say they have full intentions of moving in by the first of March.
“The sooner the better,” Jones said.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter@Avila_recorder.