New Santana Ranch school is fully funded

District goes over construction finances with board

A artist rendering of the proposed new elementary school at Santana Ranch.

The proposed new $51 million elementary school at Santana Ranch in southeast Hollister is fully funded, according to Hollister School District Board President Stephen Kain.

Kain and the rest of the Hollister board were assured there were no funding shortfalls by Assistant Supt. of Business Services Gabriel Moulaison, who gave a “Santana Ranch School Funding” presentation in late March.

“As it turns out, we have more money than we actually need (for the new school project),” said Kain. “Honestly I was very pleased with the presentation and I believe all the board members felt very good about it too.”

The new school has five different funding sources, including two bonds ($36.2 million from Measure V and $3.4 million worth of Measure M) and nearly $10 million in developer fees.

“Trustee Rob Bernosky had concerns if we had enough money to build the school. That’s what prompted this report from the district,” Kain explained. “I was glad it was done. That made me feel a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable.”

Moulaison did outline a $455,500 difference in current funds compared to the overall project cost. However, the district plans to make up for that with developer fees.

“The district receives $2.5-$3.5 million per year in developer fees,” according to the staff report. “The district will receive enough in developer fees to cover the shortage in three months.”

HSD also applied for $1 million in Proposition 51 matching state construction funds, Kain said. That $9 billion Kindergarten through Community College Public Education Facilities Bond Act passed in November 2016.

The target date to open the new primary school is by the start of the 2021 school year, Kain said.

“As far  as shovels in the ground, that should be coming fairly quickly,” Kain added.

The 12-acre parcel of land, purchased by the district for $5 million, is off Sunnyslope Road with an address of 1454 Santana Ranch Drive.

When completed, the new site will be the ninth elementary school site (12th primary school program) in the district’s cache of schools. The Hollister district currently serves about 5,500 students.

The new site plans include four two-story buildings, with a pickup/dropoff area on Santana Ranch Drive and a fire lane dividing the academic buildings and common areas from the athletic fields and basketball courts.

Other school construction projects on the district’s radar include new gymnasiums at Calaveras, Cerra Vista and Santana Ranch schools for $8 million each.

In other Hollister school news, Kain said the board is working on several solutions to student dropoff/pickup safety issues at some school sites.

“I just want the community to know that we hear them. This is a situation that needs to be rectified and we are working on it,” Kain said. “We have some ideas and we want to implement them by next school year.

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