Following construction delays last year due to above-average rainy weather conditions, construction on the Santa Clara Unified School District’s K12 Campus on the old Agnews property is back on a steady schedule. The project is at 3500 Zanker Rd. in San Jose on a 55-acre site that’s in the process of becoming a new school complex with facilities for a 600-student elementary school, 1,000-student middle school and a 1,600-student high school.
“No further delays are expected — we’re on target right now,” said Jennifer Dericco, Public Information Officer for the school district. “Heavy rain last year caused delays in putting in seismic safety piles due to very muddy ground conditions. With concrete pads in, weather shouldn’t be an issue anymore.”
Currently, most of the structural steel work has been done for the elementary and middle schools, with the elementary school’s final steel beam to go in before the end of January. Some asphalt paving and interior framing is also being conducted. The middle school’s final steel beam is slated to go in by mid-February, which will be commemorated by an event tentatively scheduled for the week of Feb. 24 to celebrate the milestone for both schools with a ceremonial capping of the final beam. So far, work on the high school has been horizontal infrastructure site work, though the middle and high schools will share some facilities. Construction of the high school buildings is expected to begin later this year.
“We’re all excited,” remarked Larry Adams, school district Bond Projects Director. “We have a good group of construction contractors out there doing everything they can do to keep the project on schedule. We’re really happy with the quality of work.”
Construction is also underway for improvements made to Zanker Road, which will include widening to accommodate traffic from the educational complex. The work is being conducted in conjunction with the City of San Jose on Zanker Road between Tasman Drive and just north of US 101. The roadway will be widened to accommodate three lanes in the northbound direction, and new curbs, gutters, streetlights, signs, landscaping, a bike lane and sidewalk will be added.
At full buildout there will be a total of 382,000 square feet of school building space. Playfields with various surfaces will be spread out on 23.5 acres in addition to other recreational facilities such as a gym and pool. The campus buildings will feature classrooms, libraries, multi-purpose rooms, cafeterias, kitchens, administrative spaces, locker rooms, staff workrooms, science labs, art labs and special education spaces. There will also be a performing arts building.
Both the elementary and middle schools are scheduled to open for the fall 2021 school year. The high school is set to open fall 2022. The original target opening date had been 2020 for the elementary and middle schools. Adams said that an idea to open a temporary, portable school on the Zanker Road site had been floated due to the delays, but that the consensus of community members was to open the permanent campus in 2021 instead. It was determined that the delay wouldn’t cause significant hardships for students.
School Board members discussed naming of the schools at a Jan. 16 meeting — they decided on Abram Agnew Elementary School, Dolores Huerta Middle School and Kathleen MacDonald High School. They also voted on other items such as AT&T ethernet service for the campus, construction contract updates, the purchasing of playground structures for the elementary school and the extension of an air quality monitoring contract for construction activities.