New building preserves Arbuckle Elementary’s historic roots

New improvements to the schools in Arbuckle continue to be unveiled.

On Aug. 14, Pierce Joint Unified School trustees and staff welcomed community members to Arbuckle Elementary School for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newest structure at the school.

McCuen Construction, Inc., of Loomis, won the bid for the project. The gable style building was completed on schedule, in 10 months, and was ready for the first day of school.

“We got the concrete poured just before the first major rainstorm and that was huge in getting this completed on time,” said Frank Gonczeruk, vice president for McCuen Construction, who added, “It’s a good accomplishment and a great team.”

Michelle Cherry, who teaches second grade in one of the eight new classrooms, was thrilled with the addition to the school.

“The rooms are beautiful,” said Cherry. “They are just perfect. The kids love them. They were so excited to come in and see everything.”

Cherry added, “I love the space, I love the lights, everything about it. I’m very lucky I got to be one of the teachers.”

The proceeds from the sale of $3.7 million in general obligation bonds helped pay for the improvements to the schools. The oversight committee was tasked with making sure the funds were spent appropriately, school officials said.

Improvements included a new marquee in front of the elementary school last year.

“Last year, we were able to open up that beautiful new multipurpose room at the high school,” said Pierce Superintendent Carol Geyer. “This year we have this beautiful building. We replaced our bleachers and put in a new scoreboard at our high school. Our next project is going to be adding on to our locker rooms, so, hopefully, in another year’s time.”
At the ribbon cutting, Gonczeruk presented a $2,500 donation to Arbuckle Principal Summer Shadley for supplies. Following the ribbon cutting, the school’s open house commenced and parents were welcomed to tour the new facility.

“They really listened to the teachers when they built it,” said Kerri Lovelady, a second grade teacher.

The building was meticulously designed to match the facade of the existing school but with modern features.

“The legacy that brings back to the community: a 70-to-100-year building that’s going to last many generations,” said Gonczeruk, as he listed the safety and technological attributes of the structure, which include lines of sight across the campus and energy efficient measures.

“I think it’s great,” said Victor Matamoros, a parent attending the ribbon cutting. “Anything you can add to a building that is newer – and is for the kids. There’s nothing like having a brand new facility where you can implement teaching. I like it.”

Staff and parents seemed to be pleased with the new addition, and students seemed to take on an excited air.

Alondra Melendez, 7, showed off her spot in her second grade classroom and said she loved it.

“The teacher is super duper nice,” Melendez said. “I love all the stuff I got in here. This is where you sit, this is my spot.” ■