Schools

Sylvan Middle School upgrades to finish by August 2016

Sylvan Middle School construction
Construction progress at the new Sylvan Middle School campus is shown in this screenshot from a timelapse video available online. Credit: Clark/Sullivan Construction

After beginning construction last year, things are starting to visibly take shape at the new Sylvan Middle School, with those passing by on Auburn Boulevard now able to see frames in place for several new buildings.

[Video link below]

The construction project underway converts the old Citrus Heights Elementary campus into a new campus for Sylvan Middle School, following a controversial 2014 San Juan Unified School District board decision to close the aging Sylvan campus. The board unanimously approved an estimated $18.2-million renovation and expansion project at the former elementary campus, set for completion by August 2016, allowing for Sylvan students to kick off the 2016-17 school year at the new campus.

A five-minute timelapse video posted on the Clark/Sullivan Construction website shows several months of primarily dirt-moving and preparation work, before the site begins to take more visible shape in images from last month. Existing classrooms have now been gutted, and frames are in place for a new library and an art classroom building, according to the most recent construction updates posted on the school district’s website.

[Watch: timelapse construction video of the Sylvan Middle School project]

The construction update also says Measure N bond staff were shown a “key feature” of the project last week — stained concrete inside classrooms — which the District says offers a “marble-like” look and feel.

A 3D video published last year on the District’s Youtube page revealed a sneak peak at what the modernized-and-expanded Sylvan Middle School would look like at its new location on the former Citrus Heights Elementary school campus.

The video shows interior and exterior architectural renderings of a new library addition, an updated administration building, and before-and-after views of renovated classrooms. It also reveals a new art lab, locker building, science and music classrooms, and outdoor dining area, to complete what the District says will provide a “premier and dynamic” learning experience.

[Watch VIDEO: 3D tour of new Sylvan Middle School campus]

The future Sylvan campus will also highlight “STEAM curriculum,” which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The curriculum seeks to blend the sciences and the arts “to inspire students to think deeper, solve problems creatively and look toward the future of their academic and professional careers,” according to the District’s website.

In a construction video update, Sylvan Principal Kristan Schnepp said she’s excited students will soon be able to use a new “maker lab” to experiment with robotics and 3D printers.

Background

Unanimously approved on Nov. 18, 2014, SJUSD board members made the decision to close the old Sylvan Middle School campus, rejecting an alternative proposal to rebuild the aging school for an estimated cost of $44 million.

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Under the board decision, Citrus Heights Elementary consolidated with Carriage Drive Elementary in 2015, allowing for Sylvan’s relocation and renovation to begin.

[From 2014: Board decides final fate of Sylvan Middle School]

During controversial board discussions on the future of Sylvan, District Superintendent Kent Kern recommended closure of the nearly 80-year-old facility, highlighting regional declining enrollment figures for Citrus Heights which show a 22 percent drop in students over the past 10 years.

According to figures presented during the District’s board decision, the approved project is estimated to cost $18.25 million, funded by Measure N bond money.