Federal grants to help modernize Camp Pendleton Public Schools

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OCEANSIDE — Between two federal grants, one approved and one pending, the Oceanside Unified School District expects to receive approximately $80 million to help upgrade two Camp Pendleton elementary schools over the next two years.

North Terrace and Stuart Mesa Elementary Schools are located on the North County Military Base, making them eligible to participate in the Department of Defense (DOD) Public Schools on Military Installations (PSMI) grant. The grant pays for 80% of each school’s modernization efforts while the selected school district matches the remaining 20%.

At the July 19 board meeting, Andrea Norman, associate superintendent of business services, said the DoD recently chose North Terrace to receive funding. Stuart Mesa expects to receive the PSMI grant within the next two years.

“We are on a national list,” she said. “Once you’re notified your number is out, you get the grant and then you just share with them what your plans would be.”

North Terrace has completed the process and will receive approximately $60 million for the entire $75 million modernization project, leaving Oceanside Unified to pay the remaining $15 million.

Once Stuart Mesa is selected to participate in the department grant, the district would receive $20 million for school upgrades while paying the remaining $5 million.

“We’re getting $80 million from the federal government to rebuild these schools,” administrator Mike Blessing said.

According to Norman, North Terrace was prioritized over Stuart Mesa because half of the school’s buildings are portable, non-permanent brick-and-mortar structures.

The school board approved the use of Measure W funds for both projects on July 19. Passed by voters in November 2020, Measure W issues up to $160 million in general obligation bonds for improving school facilities.

In March, the board approved other Measure W projects, including replacing playground equipment, installing new shade structures throughout the district, replacing high school athletics, a new gymnasium at Jefferson Middle School and various HVAC and roof replacements.

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