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School board gives go-ahead for school renovation plans

By: Carol Percy, Reporter Lincoln News Messenger
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The Western Placer Unified School District board approved two agenda items Tuesday for school site renovation plans and a school district budget cut.

In a move to accommodate a growing student population, Western Placer Unified School District staff presented a three-phase master plan to renovate two district schools. The Western Placer Unified School District board approved plans to expand and modify facilities at Carlin C. Coppin Elementary and Creekside Oaks Elementary schools in Lincoln.

The current total student population for the district’s 11 schools is 6,569.

In 50 years, the district’s Lincoln General Plan is projecting an increase in student population to 20,000 students, according to Scott Leaman, Western Placer Unified School District’s superintendent.

“As a facilities person, I can do a lot of planning but until the (school) board reviews and approves a plan, then it doesn’t really become official,” said Heather Steer, Western Placer Unified School District’s facilities planner for the district’s business services department.

“What the board essentially approved with the master plan was an outline of how we would move forward with expanding school facilities to accommodate future growth of our student population,” Steer said.

She also noted that a new elementary school built today would cost the district approximately $29 million.

“So we’re looking at ways to work with the facilities that we already have,” Steer said, “and coming up with the most economical way of housing students.”

The master plan for Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School located at 150 East 12th St. includes a

three-phase approach. Coppin’s current student population is 408 and the school is expected to house 883 students with the completion of the master plan phases.

Goals include keeping school grade levels clustered, increasing parking and improving traffic flow in parking lots, adding teacher workrooms and new restrooms, creating a dedicated kindergarten area and relocating two existing portable classrooms.

Steer said that “the beauty of the multi-phase plan” is that the district can implement some or all of the phases according to student population growth and district budgetary constraints.

As yet, the master plan project has no projected budget.

“It will depend on where our needs are going to lie as far as student population,” Steer said.

The school board approved plans for similar expansion and renovation at Creekside Oaks Elementary School located at 2030 First St. The biggest change planned for that facility is a new

9,750-square-foot multi-purpose room with a built-in kitchen that would serve lunch for 450 students.

Plans also include six new classrooms, five new teaching stations and the relocation and addition of new portable classrooms. The improvements will be able to service up to 1,000 students, according to Leaman. Currently, Creekside Oaks serves 586 students.

Addressing another agenda item, the school board looked at budget reductions. The district is currently deficit spending and budget reductions have been implemented for the past two fiscal years, totaling nearly $10.75 million, according to district staff. Another $2.6 million in reductions is needed for the upcoming year.

Audrey Kilpatrick, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations, asked the board to approve a budget reduction for $1,322,800 for the 2013-14 budget year. She said that amount will cover items that the district “can do right away.”

The remainder of the nearly $1.3 million will require negotiations with the union,” Kilpatrick said.