RODEO -- Several years of indecision ended Wednesday evening when the John Swett district school board voted unanimously to put a bond measure on the November ballot to replace its crumbling middle school.

The $52 million measure is aimed at rebuilding 89-year-old Carquinez Middle School on Pomona Street in Crockett as well as completing the renovation of John Swett High School across the street. Property owners would be taxed at a maximum rate of $60 per $100,000 in assessed valuation.

Trustees commissioned a seismic report on the middle school that was completed last fall. The report said the middle school building needed to be retrofitted to bring it up to current earthquake standards, according to John Swett Superintendent Rob Stockberger.

However, the cost of a retrofit, which would involve attaching the building's masonry to a concrete outer shell with metal rods, would cost $46 million, $6 million more than an architect's estimate to build a new school, Stockberger said.

"Building new also gives us an opportunity to address a lot of things, including traffic flow around the school and the parking situation," Stockberger said. "The conceptual proposal showed that the new building would have a much better layout."

The trustees' resolve was bolstered by a poll released last month that reported 60 percent of voters with full information about the project would vote yes on the measure and an additional 4 percent would lean toward voting yes. It will require 55 percent to pass.


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The new school would be built on the other side of the 5.7-acre middle school property away from the existing school, which would remain in use during construction.

After the new school is completed, the old building would be torn down and a new gymnasium built on the site that would be used by the middle school and the high school.

The new middle school would have roughly the same capacity as the current school, which has about 380 students, Stockberger said.

If the bond is approved, it will put John Swett close to the top of its bonding capacity, Stockberger said.

However, the district is unlikely to need any more construction in the near future because its other two schools, Rodeo Hills Elementary School in Rodeo and Willow Continuation High School in Crockett, are relatively new, he said.