It was a time to celebrate as CAS Elementary officially opened a new building and unveiled the renovation of several of its classrooms and offices at its campus on Third Street on Monday, Aug. 5, the day before school started.
Marcela Munguia, principal of the three CAS (Center for Academic Success) schools in Douglas, said this will be the first time the fourth grade will actually be at the elementary campus. They used to attend school at the campus on 15th Street and F Avenue.
“Our executive director has been wanting to expand this campus for a while,” she said. “When we purchased this building from the city we did a lot of renovations. We soon realized we needed two or three more classrooms and so she started seriously looking at this about a year and a half ago.”
The new building includes a school cafeteria, two bathrooms, three classrooms, and an office area.
Bleuwave Construction out of Chandler and Garcia Construction of Douglas designed and built the new 5,500 square foot addition as well as did the upgrades on the existing campus.
“So many people were instrumental in getting this open,” Munguia said. “We actually moved in here Thursday, Aug. 1. We’re very happy and appreciative everyone came together to help us get this building ready for the first day of school.”
The principal estimates having 235 kinder through fourth grade students the first day of school and 650 overall, counting elementary, middle and the high school. Each elementary class will have approximately 20 students.
Vada Phelps, the executive director for CAS, said the new building was needed and replaces an old modular that had once been there, but was in very bad shape.
“It’s a more pleasant place for our students to be,” she said. ‘I’m very pleased with how things worked out.”
Phelps praised all those who had a hand in this renovation project saying it took a lot of different people all working together in order to get the project completed in time for school to start.
Louie Garcia of Garcia Construction said working with Bleuwave Construction was a good experience.
“Bleuwave was the general contractor who oversaw the entire project,” Garcia said. “He did all the scheduling and dealt with the sub-contractors. He oversaw the entire project. I was the superintendent and what our company did was all the demolition, utility work, we did all the earth work, the electrical and plumbing, painting.”
Seeing the finished project is rewarding, Garcia said, especially when you saw what was there previously.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to provide a building like we did for the students at CAS,” he said. “A lot of hard work, planning and coordination went into it. The entire project went really well, we didn’t really have any major issues or road blocks.”
Garcia Construction has been serving Douglas since the 1970’s and became licensed, bonded and insured since 1991.
Garcia said his company has done other projects for CAS and he is appreciative of the professional relationship he has with the administrators for that school.
According to Paula Terrell-Carrillo, the current elementary school was built in 1961 and completed in 1962. It used to be owned by the Catholic Diocese. The City of Douglas had it as its Recreation Center until selling it to CAS several years ago. The building needed a lot of repairs and upgrades in order to get it where it is today.