After learning that plans to build a new Valley View Elementary School campus is facing delays, Richmond council on Tuesday voted unanimously to urge the West Contra Costa Unified District Board of Education to move forward with the project.
Valley View Elementary at 3416 Maywood Dr. has been operating out of 50-year-old portable buildings, but a project in the works would replace the old campus with a state-of-the-art learning facility.
The school hoped to have an interim campus finished in July, with construction bids for the $39 million new campus due in October. But Richmond council members learned the project may be postponed to allow the district to focus on the Pinole Valley High School project, which has reportedly gone over budget.
The delay concerned Valley View Elementary officials and supporters, who fear their project will continue to fall down the list of district priorities, according to Councilmembers Eduardo Martinez and Jael Myrick, who are members of the council’s Education Committee.
“They felt that if they did not start on it, they had no assurance that the money would stay there,” Martinez said.
Even if delays are inevitable, Myrick said he wants the project to remain a priority and added he hopes students can still move into the temporary campus, which is “better quality” than the current campus.
“Part of the district’s argument is if they got started on [Valley View] and the cost of Pinole goes up, then maybe they wouldn’t have the money to finish the job,” Myrick said. “Even if there were [funding] problems that came up down the line, the students would still be better off [in the temporary campus] than they are in the 50-year-old campus they’re in now.”
As a result of Tuesday’s vote, staff will craft a letter to send to Board of Education members before their meeting on Feb. 11.