Ceres alternative education programs getting new home on Mitchell Road

03/04/2014 6:04 PM

03/04/2014 9:55 PM

A new Stanislaus County Office of Education school for struggling students is going up on Mitchell Road, designed to replace an older site on Memorial Drive.

“Right now, we’re in portables and an old doctor’s office,” said Ceres Community School Principal Telka Walser. The as-yet-unnamed site, weather permitting, will open in January 2015, she said.

High-schoolers attending the community school and Stanislaus Arts Academy, along with junior high students at the boot-camp-style Technical Character Academy, will move to the new site initially, said Scott Kuykendall, director of the SCOE Educational Options Division.

Ceres Independent Study likely will move during the following summer, he said. All are alternative education programs run by the county office, serving mostly kids expelled from Stanislaus school districts.

“We’re very much looking forward to the move,” Kuykendall said. The Mitchell Road location will be easier to reach than the tucked-away Memorial Drive site by a vacant former hospital, which he called “not optimal.”

The new campus is being built with $9 million in state school bond money, said Kathy Lasiter, head of school construction. Going up are a large multipurpose building with kitchen, a seven-classroom building and a three-classroom building, totaling 22,800 square feet.

Large roof overhangs will shade areas outside. “There will be a wonderful courtyard. It could be used by the art students. It’ll have a garden and benches,” Lasiter said.

Otherwise, the design is pretty standard, she said, with an exterior of the same rock and earth-tone materials used on other SCOE construction projects. Much of the layout was repeated from other projects, too. “The plan was created for maximum flexibility,” she said.

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