Construction Revs Up at Vaughn St. School

Planners of the new library and classrooms under construction at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center said Wednesday that they expect the project to be finished by November.

Yvonne Chan, principal of the Vaughn Street charter school, had hoped to have the project finished by Valentine's Day, then by Easter, she said, but El Nino-driven rains delayed construction.

In addition, obtaining a state-approved building permit took longer than expected, and the estimated cost of the project increased from $2.4 million to $3 million when higher-quality materials were needed to meet building codes, Chan said.

George Johnson, director of operations at Pueblo Contracting Services of San Fernando, which is constructing the building, said crews will lay a cement slab for the ground floor within a week. Construction of the frame probably will start by the end of next week, he said.

"We're hoping that we can finish by Nov. 1," Johnson said. "It's somewhat of an aggressive schedule."

When finished, the two-story building will include a science lab, multimedia production studio, teacher training center and school library, which will be open to the public.

Chan said plans also call for a small art gallery, a computer service center to be run by former gang members and a coffee shop. A small soccer field is to be located nearby.

The state helped fund the project with money earmarked for class-size reductions. The project also relied on donations.

"The beauty [of the project] is giving a lot more jobs to the locals here," Chan said. "We've really got to have a healthier and wealthier community with jobs."

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