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Rio Americano performance and academic center approved by state architect

Band room Rio Americano’s Measure N signature project- a performance and academic center - received final approval from the Division of the State Architect (DSA) office last week, paving the way for construction to begin in June.

With the DSA approval, a contract between San Juan Unified and contractor DPR Construction is being finalized, and is expected to go to the district Board of Education on June 14. If approved, work on the project will begin on June 15, with a completion date scheduled for summer of 2017.

Rio Americano’s performance and academic center will be built in front of the existing gymnasiums on the northwest side of campus, and will feature a 350-seat auditorium with a control room and lobby, a box office and two music classrooms.

San Juan Unified had originally slated Rio Americano’s project to break ground in March, however the DSA office did not review the design as soon as district officials had hoped.

“We’re frustrated by the delay, but it was out of our control,” said Brett Mitchell, San Juan Unified’s director of facilities, construction and modernization. “We submitted the plans in October expecting a four-month review process. Unfortunately, DSA is backed-up with all the statewide school construction that is happening in 2016, so it took seven months.”

Rio Americano Band Director Josh Murray said the delay has not dampened excitement for the project on campus.

“We know that delays like this can happen on major construction projects,” Murray said. “We are thrilled that the project is in the final stages of approval, and are ready to watch the construction process of the new building next year.”

Rio Americano is one of three Measure N signature projects approved in San Juan Unified. The district will also break ground on a next-generation science wing at Bella Vista High in June, and a performing arts center is in the planning stages for El Camino Fundamental High.

For more information on Measure N signature projects, visit