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North Terrace and Stuart Mesa elementary schools on Camp Pendleton qualify for a Department of Defense school modernization grant. Photo by Simone Hogan
North Terrace and Stuart Mesa elementary schools on Camp Pendleton qualify for a Department of Defense school modernization grant. Photo by Simone Hogan
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Federal grants to help modernize Camp Pendleton public schools

OCEANSIDE — Between two federal grants, one approved and the other pending, the Oceanside Unified School District anticipates receiving approximately $80 million to help modernize two Camp Pendleton elementary schools within 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 selected North Terrace to receive funds. Stuart Mesa expects the PSMI grant sometime in the next two years.

“We’re on a nationwide list,” she said. “Once you get notified your number has come up you get the grant, then you just share with them what your plans would be.”

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

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

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

According to Norman, North Terrace was prioritized over Stuart Mesa because half of the school’s buildings are portable and not permanent brick-and-mortar structures.

The school board approved using 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 school facility improvements.

In March, the board approved additional Measure W projects, including replacing playground equipment, installing new shade structures districtwide, track and field replacements at the high schools, a new gym at Jefferson Middle School and various HVAC and roof replacements.

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