A $3.7 million Curtis Creek Elementary School campus classroom reconstruction project is set to begin by the end of the month with Curtis Creek Elementary School alumnus Evan Royce’s company at the helm of the construction.

District trustees awarded the project to Royce Construction on Dec. 18 and the company has since procured the necessary bonds and drawn up the pertinent contracts before the project is set to proceed.

Once the contract documents are signed, likely within “a few weeks and at least by the end of the month,” Royce said, it will be “off to the races” for the construction of the 11,000- to 12,000-square-foot building.

The project will likely take 11 months to complete, he said.

Royce, Tuolumne County District 3 supervisor, said the project represented “more than just a job opportunity” to give back to the community that fostered his upbringing.

“It's kind of going full circle,” he said. “I had so many memories and experiences there. It's been a huge part of what shaped who I am, and when I think about it I am overcome all the time.”

Royce Construction was the low bidder for the project with a $3.78 million bid, followed by Boyer Construction Inc. of Sonora, with a $3.94 million bid, and Harris Builders. Inc., of Hilmar, with a $4.33 million bid.

It was intentional, Royce said, to be “extremely aggressive” for a low bid.

“I would rather leave a whole bunch of money on the table than lose that opportunity. It’s very important to me,” he said. “It's also a place that's really important to me and my family, and a lot of people that work for me as well went to school there. We want to make sure it turns into a wonderful place for the kids again.”

Artistic renderings of the project show the roof in the undeniable red of the Curtis Creek Mustangs. The building retains an H shape and a pavillion accessible from the blacktop dividing the two side sections.

Once the project begins, said Curtis Creek Elementary School District Superintendent Sharon Johnson, “a rrangements will be made as needed to ensure campus safety and project completion.”

Eleven rented portables and a portable restroom were installed after a Jan. 26, 2017, electrical fire.

And while the students continue their education in portables, Johnson said that the new building project will promise a brighter future for the school.

“Settling into the new classrooms will give students and staff a sense of permanency and resilience that, as a team, we can get through challenging times and be stronger in the end,” she said.

After the removal of the portable classrooms, the entire playground will be resurfaced and repainted, Johnson said, with the furniture and technology from the portables also transferred into the new classrooms.

Johnson said the new “state-of-the-art” building will include nine classrooms, two staff and student restrooms, and two custodial work closets. The building will house a transitional kindergarten class, kindergarten through third grades, and a preschool.

A replacement library for the one destroyed during the fire will be housed in an existing classroom, she added, and will likely open in the spring.

Royce said the new classrooms will include “some nice features that are going to be great for the teachers and kids,” and will feature smart boards and modern presentation tools to assist in the educational process.

Royce said the project offers him a unique opportunity to be a role model for the current generation of students. Starting in 1987, Royce spent nine of his formative years at the school all the way through eighth grade.

“I think that's a really cool message for them,” he said. I'll be looking for opportunity to do nice things and maybe do some extra credit things for the kids in the long run.”

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.