Roseville is embarking on a program of school upgrades and additions whose price tag could shoot past $250 million.
Major features include a high school addition costing as much as $67 million, including a new theater with a capacity for flyaway scenery.
“The high school needs more room,” Superintendent Aldo Sicoli told members of the Roseville City Council during an informal briefing this month. In a district that expects enrollment to grow, Sicoli said, the Roseville Area High School is over capacity now.
Other buildings need help, he said, though with smaller price tags.
“Our alternative high school, the whole building needs a lot of work. They don’t even have science labs there,” he said. “And our swimming pools are in rough shape, to say the least.”
Shari Thompson, director of business and operations for the district, said the school board can choose to bond for maintenance needs — things like heating and cooling systems and dehumidification — without going out to the voters for their approval.
That bill, for a district built out mostly in the 1950s and ’60s, will add up: Deferred maintenance is being projected over a decade to run to $120 million, or $12 million a year.
“About half our students are in summer programs,” she said, “so there’s a limit to how much building we can do, even in the summers.”
A referendum is needed, she said, to expand building capacity. A timeline calls for a referendum campaign this fall to be followed, if it succeeds, by design work next winter and construction work from 2018 into the 2020s.
Projects to add new capacity are tentatively estimated to cost about $145 million.
The back story, officials say, includes a hot market for affordable starter homes. Such homes draw young families, including immigrant families with more children, to inner-ring suburbs such as Roseville.
“Our enrollment is at its highest in 34 years,” Thompson said. “It hit its low point in 1988-89, and between 2006-07 and 2015-16 was up by just shy of 19 percent.”
More increases are forecast.
Priorities coming up
Officials emphasized that nothing is final and more community consultation is coming up. For the moment, here are some details:
• Safety and security issues are a top priority. The emphasis on keeping kids safe from intruders is quite a bit more stringent than in the 1950s.
• Programming needs in a new educational era are also a priority. More pullout spaces are needed for specialists to work with kids outside of classrooms. There are also special education enhancements at all buildings.
• The district has spent a lot of time thinking about facilities that can be shared with the wider community, such as pools, gyms, auditoriums and the like.
• Pool renovation is still up for grabs, they said. As school board members met jointly with City Council members, it sounded as if they would love to do it if not for the political problem of seeking large amounts of money for things that are not strictly school needs.