The Fallbrook Union School District will receive more than $47.5 million in federal funding to address problems with its capacity and aging facilities at Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School, located on Camp Pendleton.
Those funds come from the Department of Defense Public Schools Military Installations Program, which bases the allocations on a priority list developed by the Secretary of Defense. The law provides funds to build, repair or expand public schools on military installations “to ensure the children of service members are learning in safe, modern, and efficient facilities that meet the local standard.”
“I am thrilled to announce that the Fallbrook Union School District is being awarded nearly $50 million for critical upgrades to the Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School…” said Rep. Mike Levin, (D-San Juan Capistrano) who represents the congressional district where the school is located. “Students deserve safe and healthy learning environments, and I am glad to see the Defense Department invest in our district and address these much needed repairs.”
The existing school was built in 1954 for a student population of 361, but the campus is outdated and the student body has outgrown its space. It now enrolls about 772 students, according to the California School dashboard, and many students attend class in relocatable units.
May Fay Pendleton has been on the district’s list for upgrades, but the federal grant required a 20 percent match from the state. The state finally approved that match, making the federal funds available, district spokesman Bill Billingsley said. Construction will start in July and should take two years, he said.
The district received approval for its plans from the California Division of the State Architect, which oversees school construction, the Department of Defense stated. The new campus will be built on the footprint of the older school, and will accommodate 1,052 students.
The new structure will be a modern, “technology-rich” two-story building, Billingsley said in 2017. It will include facilities for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction and physical education, he said, with permanent classrooms wired for internet access, and no relocatable classrooms, he said. Students will continue to attend class in the existing structures until the new school is built, he said.
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