Six years after a Santa Rosa, California, school for autistic students was destroyed in a fire, construction has begun on a replacement campus.
The Press Democrat reports that leaders of the Anova Center for Education, a K-12 school, were able to secure a loan that has cleared the way to begin building a new facility.
The Anova school was destroyed in the 2017 Tubbs Fire and is the only school destroyed in the fire that has yet to be rebuilt. In the meantime, about 150 Anova students have been learning in portable classrooms in a parking lot across from where their school once stood.
Over the past six years, Anova has been able to crowdfund nearly $10 million of the estimated $26.7 million cost to build a new school, which will include two 20,000-square-foot classroom buildings, outdoor pavilions, a garden and a sensory playground.
But that still wasn’t enough to start construction. Enter Sonoma County developers Cindy and Bill Gallaher of Gallaher Companies. Bill Gallaher was able to set up a $15 million construction loan for Anova.
The collaboration between Gallaher Companies and Anova also lowered the project total cost. Gallaher Companies is donating project management, architecture, design and landscaping.
What was estimated to cost nearly $27 million, will now be closer to $20 million, Cindy Gallaher said.
If construction goes as planned, Anova students will transition to the new location for the 2024-25 school year.
Video from Anova Center for Education: