SCV Signal

Friday, February 7, 2003

Group Gets acquainted with work-in-progress Stevenson Ranch school.

By Cary Osbourne
Signal Staff Writer

Twelve parents of future Pico Canyon Elementary School students got to witness first-hand the LEGO-like connecting of modular classrooms at the site of the future school on Wednesday.

The school will have a capacity of 850 students with 650 expected to attend this fall. Construction on the site is located in phase 3 of Stevenson Ranch off Pico Canyon Road.

"We are projecting to be ahead of schedule at this time, barring weather," said Chris Harroun, project manager for Bernards Bros., the construction management firm working on the project. "And we will be ready to open in September."

Parents got a firsthand look at the modular classrooms that are being put in at Pico Canyon Elementary School.

The parents were part of a group led by Newhall School District boardmember Suzan Solomon. She said she was bringing parents to see the site to become acquainted with and get excited about bringing their kids to the school.

The site is full of concrete, wood and metal poles protruding from the ground, but will transform into three portions which include the core building and two-story classrooms.

The whole area of the future school, including playing fields, is estimated by Harroun to be approximately nine acres.

The core building will contain administrative offices, a library, teachers' lounge and a multi-purpose room.

When the parents were led through the construction of the multi-purpose room, they gasped in excitement at the simple site of the room's skeleton. To the front was a drywall and wooden outline of a stage, and to the back, the future kitchen.

The entrance to the building will have what Harroun called a "storefront entrance like (electronics store) Best Buy," featuring windows and metal.

The modular classrooms were prefinished before they arrived to the site. Cranes are currently piecing them together and they are being welded and bolted together at the foundation.

Other features of the school include covered walkways, a music room, a two-level parking lot (upper level for school personnel, lower for parents), and an elevator for the handicapped and school use.

The exterior of the school will be a cream, off-green and peach color called adobe.

Kira Fortner, whose fifth-grader will attend the school upon opening, had her worried of the structure's strength against earthquakes calmed after she was told that the school is being built under the most stringent standards.

"We had some concerns about it being a second-story structure because we're not very familiar with that, but listening to the guys talking about the standards makes us feel better," Fortner said.

She added, "I'm so excited about having a school for ourselves because we're part of a new community.