Written by The Business Journal Staff
Visalia Unified School District will offer tours of new, Measure E-funded Ridgeview Middle School at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held on Aug. 10 at 4 p.m.
The 66,000-square-foot school is located at 3315 N. Akers St., north of Riggin Avenue.
Attendees at the ceremony will include members of the Visalia Unified School District board of trustees, representatives of the construction and architecture teams, members of the Citizens Advisory Committee, members of the Visalia City Council, and staff of the new school.
Michal Yates, who served for a decade as the assistant principal at Mt. Whitney High School, has been chosen as the first principal of the new school.
The campus, which will open with about 360 seventh-graders, is built to accommodate 900 Ridgeview Raptors. However the school was designed to expand to a maximum of 1,150 students over the next 15 years with the addition of modular classrooms.
The two-story campus features a single academic wing with an interior hallway on each floor, explained Steven Pena, project manager for Visalia Unified School District. The first-floor labs and art rooms have exterior doors to encourage outdoor learning opportunities, Pena explained. The classrooms will feature flexible furnishings that will allow for group work or individual study.
Instructional services are fully digital, he added, with video screens on multiple walls in each classroom. Students will utilize the District’s Chrome books for research and study, in addition to the school library.
“It used to be that technology was nice to have,” Pena noted. “Now, it’s standard. Today’s teachers and their students rely upon it.”
Another feature of the school is a freestanding gymnasium, which will be available for community use. Other campuses in VUSD have a gym that doubles as the cafeteria, rendering the space less useful for community events, Pena explained.
The school’s landscaping was designed with the drought in mind. The grounds on the interior of the campus will feature artificial turf, while the grounds on the exterior will utilize drought-tolerant grass. The campus utilizes energy-saving LED lighting and solar structures will be installed, offering energy cost savings and shade.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours are open to the public.