Dirt won't fly until 2015, but considerable groundwork must be done before the Weaver Union School District embarks on its major construction projects.
Superintendent John Curry said the best-case scenario would have construction beginning in early 2015. An application for state funding should be submitted by March or April.
Trustees will examine proposals from four prequalified architects and construction management firms to remodel Weaver Middle School, do other upgrades and build an elementary school.
"We're barely getting started here," Trustee Harry Hose said. "We are getting stuff in motion. It's going to take time; we're trying to get everything done right."
No funding from the state is anticipated until a bond is sold at the state level in 2014, Curry said. A little more than $2 million is available in a special restricted fund that can be used to help with preplanning and debt payments.
Curry said the district first must establish a citizens oversight committee within 60 days. At least seven committee members are needed who cannot be employees or vendors. This group will oversee expenditures from the $9 million in bond sales authorized in November's general election.
The three-campus district will apply for more than $16 million in modernization and construction funds from the state. Preconstruction meetings, visits to other school sites and the gathering of information from multiple groups also are in the works.
The district has not solidified plans for the middle school renovation or the new elementary school, Curry said. He anticipates issuing the first series of Measure G bonds in May, for no more than $3.8 million, which would be used for preconstruction phases and relocation of the district's transportation department.
Trustee Bob Freitas said Weaver School was built in 1947 and only has been repainted since then. "Lord knows we definitely need that facelift," he said.
Weaver students deserve to be in a school conducive to learning, Freitas said, and it is hoped the construction can be done as inexpensively as possible and taxpayers' dollars be spent wisely.
Curry said there are more than a dozen portable classrooms at Weaver Middle School that will be replaced with buildings. Cosmetic refurbishing is planned for the seven permanent buildings on the East Childs Avenue campus.
With help from an Emeryville consulting firm, Weaver trustees approved a facilities plan in June. The district on the outskirts of Merced has a middle school and two more-modern elementary schools, Farmdale and Pioneer.
Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or email@example.com.