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November 07, 2019

New County Education Office a Step Closer to Reality

August 2, 2019

      A major hurdle for the planned $11 million expansion of the Imperial County Office of Education headquarters was cleared July 25 when the land on which it would be built was annexed into El Centro.


     The 80-acre plot is adjacent to the current facility near McCabe and Clark roads on the city’s far south side. The move to add it to El Centro’s jurisdiction was approved by a vote of the Imperial Local Agency Formation Commission.


     Among the reasons for the annexation is so the building will have access to El Centro water and sewer services, officials said.


     Six acres of the land are allotted for the 17,500-square-foot West Building E Administration & Training Facility. The property was purchased in 2003 with an eye to expected growth and now is certainly needed, officials said. 


     The facility will open opportunities to better engage with administrators, teachers, and other providers, all of which have a direct impact on students, said J. Todd Finnell, ICOE superintendent.


     "Currently, our largest training/conference room at ICOE is able to accommodate about 100 people, and even that is pushing it," said Finnell. "The new facility will allow up to (several hundred). The space will be flexible in how we are able to configure it, and provide the technology and other supports that we require. All of our major programs will utilize the space to serve their audiences, from preschool to adult education, and everything in between."


     ICOE is the state-mandated lead education organization in Imperial County. It assists local school districts and educators with a variety of matters, including curriculum, educator credentialing and training, and technology.


     The new facility will include the training facility, ICOE offices, a materials receiving and distribution center, and a gym and walking path to encourage healthy lifestyles.


     The next steps for the project include a building permit from the city building department and an encroachment permit from the city engineering division, noted Angel Hernandez, El Centro associate planner.


     The project contractor is Erickson Hall, but a construction schedule has yet to be finalized, said Renato Montano, ICOE deputy superintendent.


     "We don't have a groundbreaking day yet but we anticipate breaking ground in early September," he said. "The project is set to be completed in 12 months."

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