The technology staff members who work for the Napa Valley Unified School District will soon have a new space to call home.
While the district has worked to be on the cutting edge of technology, using iPads and other digital devices as teaching tools, its technology staff has been working in cramped and outdated portable classrooms.
The portables are approximately 50 years old and provide only 7,000 square feet of space for 28 employees, said Don Evans, director of school planning and construction.
The portables don’t contain enough space for employee workstations and storage, nor do they provide the proper temperature controls for the district’s computers. The portables will likely be demolished once the new technology center is complete, Evans said.
The district began installing Internet service in its schools after the passage of a bond measure in 1996, Evans said. It was during the mid-1990s that the district’s technology center was established.
The technology staff initially consisted of only four employees. Evans said the district expects to increase the staff to 32 in the near future.
The district will convert an existing building — located behind the district’s main administration building at Jefferson Street and Lincoln Avenue — into the new technology center. The portables are currently located next door to this building.
The new technology center will have 15,500 square feet, including 4,000 square feet of warehouse space. It will include two classrooms where students can serve as interns and teachers can receive technology training.
The building was originally constructed in 1922 and served as the woodshop for the high school, back when the high school occupied the current administration building. In more recent years, it has served as a warehouse for the district’s records, as well as a shop space for Maintenance and Operations.
The plan, according to Evans, is to gut the inside of the building, but maintain the exterior to preserve the design from the 1920s.
“It’s a piece of history,” Evans said.
The total cost of the project is approximately $7 million and will be paid for with State Facilities funds. The money will not come out of the General Fund.
Construction on the building will begin later this year. Evans said the goal is to meet the requirements for LEED certification by making the building energy efficient and keeping it low-impact on the environment. Completion and occupancy should take place between the summer and fall of 2015, Evans said.