Demolition of old Sylvan Middle School underway; what’s next?

Sylvan Middle School, demolition

An excavator finishes demolition work on the first building to go at the old Sylvan Middle School in Citrus Heights, Tuesday. // CH Sentinel

Demolition of all buildings at the old Sylvan Middle School in Citrus Heights is now underway, with the first building leveled to the ground on Monday.

The $713,000 demolition contract was awarded by the San Juan Unified School District to Sacramento-based Parc Specialty Contractors on Jan. 10. The move comes several years after a controversial 2014 school board decision to close the aging Sylvan school and convert the nearby former Citrus Heights Elementary school into a new Sylvan campus.

In December, SJUSD board members voted to demolish the nearly 80-year-old school after a staff study concluded the campus to be unsafe. A prior 2013 study had also given the campus a “D-” rating.

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Kyle Williams, the demolition project’s supervisor, told The Sentinel asbestos had been found throughout the campus, as is common on older buildings. For the past three weeks, his team has been removing anything with greater than one percent asbestos levels prior to tearing down the buildings.

“Every building has it,” he said, noting that most floor tiles in the rooms had tested with two to five percent asbestos levels.

Williams said demolition would be completed within two months, with everything leveled down to concrete.

What comes next?
The question of what will come next at the Sylvan property has been a topic of community discussion ever since the decision was made to close the school in 2014.

In a candidate forum last October, Citrus Heights Mayor Jeff Slowey called the old Sylvan campus a “prime piece of real estate that we might have an option of purchasing.” He advocated for the city purchasing the property in order to “control exactly what goes on there,” in terms of future economic development at the high-traffic location on Sylvan Corners.

Prior to the new Citrus Heights city hall being completed on Fountain Square Drive, the old Sylvan site had been pitched by some as a good location for the new hall, but idea was not pursued as the property was not available.

According to a Jan. 31 “San Juan Scene” email update from the district, the formation of an ad hoc “3280 Surplus Property Committee” was recently authorized and will be tasked with making a recommendation to the school board regarding the old Sylvan property.

As required by the state education code for sale, lease, or exchange of surplus property, the committee must be comprised of seven to 11 members, who represent various interest groups in the community.

Applications to serve on the committee can be submitted online at sanjuan.edu/3280, with representatives sought from the community at-large, teachers or administrators, parents, business and neighborhood association representatives, and an expert on land use issues.

The committee is expected to meet three or four times in March and April, but specific dates have yet to be set, according to the District’s website.

What do you think would be the best use of the old Sylvan school property? Click here to submit a letter-to-the-editor for publication

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