Facilities Master Plan

Welcome to the Sierra Sands U.S.D. Facilities Master Plan Home Page. 


Background Information

District Facilities

The district currently operates 10 schools, with an additional closed school (Vieweg) that has served as “swing space” for schools under construction. This total of 11 school sites includes 5 sites that are on federal land related to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake: Sherman E. Burroughs High School, Murray Middle School, Richmond Elementary School, Pierce Elementary School, and Vieweg Elementary School.

These five schools are eligible for federal grant funding, based on facility condition and capacity. Of these schools, Sherman E. Burroughs High School was modernized with the support of federal funds in 2018. Murray Middle School was built new in 2018. Richmond Elementary School is in the process of being built new and is scheduled to open in the new facility as early as January 2025.

Enrollment Trends

Sierra Sands is currently stable with enrollment, largely due to the addition of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) as a grade level prior to Kindergarten. However, looking at the size of each grade level, we anticipate a decline in enrollment over the next five years.


Facilities Need

Our facilities conditions were assessed in 2019 and 2022 by Cooperative Strategies. The assessment used a Facility Condition Index (FCI) to score the facilities. The FCI is generated by the cost to complete all required repairs divided by the cost to replace the entire facility. The higher the FCI, the worse repair a facility is in.  At that time, it was clear that the facility for James Monroe Middle School was nearing the end of its life. While the structures are standing, many of the infrastructure elements are failing or near failing, such as the plumbing, domestic water, and sanitary sewer systems.  Thus, it was given an FCI of 97%. Similarly, the Vieweg school site was given an FCI of 81%.

Facilities Conditions

Current Plan & Funding Sources

Available Funding Sources

The federal Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (OLDCC) manages the federal grants that support our five schools on federal land. They maintain a list of priority schools eligible to apply for funds and fund 80% of the construction of the schools that qualify. 20% of the funds must be matched by the district. We are currently eligible to apply for one school.

While we had originally planned to delay our application until such a time as we had the necessary 20% match, we have been alerted by our state and federal representatives that the priority list will be changed significantly later this school year. With the pending changes, it is likely that our school(s) will no longer be listed as a high priority and eligible for funding.

In addition to federal funds, we are eligible for state grant funds related to seismic mitigation, facility hardship, and modernization. The state funds may be used towards the match and may also be used for other facilities projects, such as supporting schools that are not eligible for federal grant funding.

Current Plan

With the nearing end-of-life of the James Monroe Middle School campus, and that school not being eligible for federal grant funding for construction, the district has decided to close the school as of June 2025. The Murray Middle School campus will house all 7th and 8th grade students beginning in Fall 2025, and the district is currently researching and gathering input on the plan for 6th grade.

In addition, the district will be embarking on rebuilding Vieweg to support the increased number of students served at the elementary level, with the addition of 6th grade. This construction project will be funded using federal construction grant funds and will require a 20% district match.

The district believes that it is critical to capitalize on the access to these federal funds, likely amounting to more than $80,000,000 to build a new elementary school, replacing the current Vieweg campus. Therefore, we are currently exploring the possibility of a general obligation bond to secure the required 20% matching funds required for the federal grant. 

Why is a Facilities Master Plan important? 

  • School facilities should support the District’s educational goals
  • Population changes and demographics affect facility needs
  • A Master Plan identifies facility needs to encourage parity throughout the District
  • A plan allows for mindful use of funds in the short term, with long-range goals in mind

Current FMP

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