Superintendent David Thoming announced this week the start of construction that will add a gymnasium, four classrooms and new administration offices.
“It’s really exciting — it’s been a long time coming. We developed the finances to allow us to do the project” Thoming said.
The project will cost $6.5 million, with $5 million coming from a federally subsidized Qualified School Construction bond and the remainder from a state grant. The district will have 15 years to repay the bond.
This is the first major construction at the New Jerusalem campus since 1968, when the school’s multipurpose room was erected. The new facilities will be shared by students from New Jerusalem and Delta Charter, which have a combined kindergarten-through-12th-grade enrollment that has swelled to more than 800 as it adds almost 50 students a year.
“The construction is giving us much-needed classroom space” Thoming said.
Work began the week after the latest graduation ceremony at the school. First priority for construction crews has been preparing to move two portable classrooms and add two more near the Delta Charter wing to make way for the gymnasium and administration building. The portables must be in place in time for the start of the school year, which has been pushed back a week to Aug. 22.
The showpiece of the new construction will be the gymnasium, a 10,800-square-foot building that is more than double the size of the present one. The new gym will be the home court for both the New Jerusalem Falcons and the Delta Charter High Dragons sports teams, including basketball and volleyball. Both schools’ team names and mascots will be featured on the hardwood floor.
“The students are excited about the new gym,” Thoming said. “The high school is excited about having their home court — they can have a school identity.
“And we need somewhere to hang the championship banner.”
The Delta Charter High boys basketball team won the Mountain Valley League championship this spring while playing their games at different gyms rented from Tracy Unified School District.
The community will also use the gym for events including the winter concert and festivals throughout the year.
The administration building will give Thoming a chance to get his entire administrative staff under one roof and will also have classrooms in the back. The superintendent hopes that will help the two-school district serve its growing population better.
“We continue to grow as more and more people look for different (education) opportunities through the charter system,” Thoming said.
Once the portable classrooms are moved into place, workers will demolish an old caretaker’s home, a barn and a shed that occupy the space where the gym and administration buildings will go. Parking, driveways and septic-tank improvements for the campus will also be installed.
Construction on the new buildings is slated to be finished by July 2012. The existing administration office and classroom will be open as usual.