Exciting news for Tesoro Viejo as the Chawanakee Unified Board of Education took action at its board meeting May 14, 2019 to hire SIM-PBK Architects to design the new educational complex planned for the community.
“This is a very exciting time for Chawanakee Unified, as we continue to grow and expand our educational footprint,” said Barbara Bigelow, board president for the Chawanakee Unified School District. “SIM-PBK Architects brings extensive experience in educational facilities design not only in the valley, but throughout California.”
The educational complex will serve students in transitional kindergarten through 12th grade with a TK through 8th grade elementary school and Rio Mesa High School, a traditional high school that will also feature a charter high school similar to the model at Minarets High School. The educational complex is located adjacent to Tesoro Viejo, the newest master-planned community in Madera County.
“I commend the Board for their leadership in keeping ahead of the planned growth,” said Darren Sylvia, superintendent of Chawanakee Unified School District. “We are taking a comprehensive and diverse approach to this new educational facility to preserve our small learning communities and project-based learning that has been very successful in our schools.”
SIM-PBK Architects has extensive experience in K-12 school design throughout California and beyond. They are on the cutting edge of school safety, technology, and best practices to maximize the learning environment.
“One of the most satisfying parts of designing a school is knowing that what we do has an impact on the learning and growth of students,” said John Smith, partner with SIM-PBK Architects. “We are pleased to partner with Chawanakee Unified to deliver an educational facility that we can all be proud of.”
Chawanakee Unified opened Hillside Elementary School in August 2018 well ahead of the first residents moving in. The state-of-art school is located in Hillside Village, Tesoro Viejo’s inaugural residential village. Serving students in transitional kindergarten through 8th grade, Hillside Elementary School offers a strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum. Students learn by doing with project-based learning and the “outdoor classroom” concept allows for hands-on learning with the natural resources of the community’s landscape.
The Rio Mesa Educational Complex is anticipated to open in Fall 2025. The initial design phase of the project is anticipated to be completed by the fall of the 2019-20, and community input will be sought. The board will consider possible funding options for the building of the schools. In addition, the district is exploring community partnerships for a joint-use aquatics complex adjacent to the schools.
“We serve the community within the Rio Mesa Area Growth Plan and know the students are coming,” Bigelow said. “We are thrilled to work with talented professionals like SIM-PBK Architects and with our community to deliver the kind of school facilities our students deserve.”