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Hanline may be last school for a while
State may not be in school construction business in future
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A construction worker walks through the site where Hanline Elementary School is being built. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

The Ceres Unified School District is working to complete the final of a series of three new schools. It just may be the last one for an extended period of time.

The state will have no funding for new schools beyond Hanline, said CUSD Supt. Dr. Scott Siegel, "for quite some time."

That's because the state has not placed a school construction bond on the ballot and Gov. Jerry Brown may not be as agreeable to the state building schools in the future.

"Without state money, it would take us a lot longer to store up development fees necessary to build another elementary school," said Siegel.

Last year CUSD opened Lucas Elementary School, the district's first dual language immersion academy. In August it opened Patricia Kay Beaver Elementary School. Walt Hanline Elementary School is next on the project list.

Construction of Hanline is occurring adjacent to Central Valley High School and scheduled to be completed by mid to late winter. However, the campus may be used first to temporarily house the Ceres Adult Education and Project YES programs until there becomes a need to use it as an elementary school. District officials believe that new housing construction could take place within two years on the southwest side of Ceres, namely the Copper Trails and West Ceres annexation, causing a demand for more classroom space.

"When that starts going if we don't have some place to put the kids, we're going to be in a world of hurt real fast," said Siegel. "We're getting full throughout our district."

There is room for some growth at Lucas and Beaver schools, said Siegel, but most other elementary schools are within a classroom or two of reaching capacity "so that has a little concerned."

CUSD is shying away from creating a specialized program, such as a dual immersion campus at Hanline, because the district would have to kick the program off campus to make way when or if west side home building occurs.

At $20 million per copy, Hanline, Beaver and Lucas are being funded entirely by state money. Hanline is being constructed in the same cost-effective manner as were Adkison, La Rosa, Berryhill, Sinclear and Hidahl campuses, by contractor Bruns-Belmont.

Hanline will be sized for about 600 students.

The Ceres School Board felt the naming of a school for Hanline was appropriate since he facilitated the successful expansion of the district from 12 schools to 19, including five new elementary campuses, a third new junior high campus and the Central Valley High School campus. Hanline served as superintendent from 2001 to 2010.