NEW PORT RICHEY — The final phase of a $12.6 million Schrader Elementary reconstruction project got under way this week after the school board approved an agreement with contractor Cutler Associates Inc.
The 40-year-old school on Little Road was mostly torn down to make way for a new building that will rise in its place.
Only a 16-classroom addition that was completed in 2003 remains intact. Portable classrooms were moved to the school property to house most of the 550 students, their teachers and other school staff members as this school year unfolds with part of the campus a construction zone.
The new Schrader Elementary, expected to be ready for the 2014-15 school year, is to include such features as 24 classrooms, a music, arts and administrative suites, media center, cafeteria and outside covered play area.
Because the needed improvements are so extensive, the school district categorizes the Schrader Elementary work as a “redevelopment project” rather than remodeling or renovation.
In recent years, several older Pasco schools have undergone similar projects that essentially transformed them into new schools, including Stewart Middle, Pasco Middle, Pasco High and Richey Elementary.
Two schools — Quail Hollow Elementary and Shady Hills Elementary — have been temporarily closed for two years while they undergo major renovations.
The school district also is working on a plan to issue more than $100 million in bonds that would pay for three years worth of school construction projects that would include new schools and improvements to old ones.
Once the Schrader project is finished, those portable classrooms aren’t going anywhere.
Bayonet Point Middle is next door and is expected to undergo a major renovation next year, so that school will make use of the portables, Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Operations Ray Gadd said.