Saturday, August 13, 2022     Volume: 23, Issue: 24

Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on August 3rd, 2022, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 23, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 23, Issue 23

Orcutt Union School District is building a multi-use facility at Orcutt Academy High School

By Taylor O'Connor

For years, students at Orcutt Academy High School didn’t get to experience the echoing creaks of people clambering up and down the bleachers of their own gym for home games or rallies. Instead, they’d go to neighboring schools in the Orcutt Union School District for sports games, pep rallies, and gym class, said Superintendent Holly Edds. 

“For sporting events, students would have to find their own transportation, and it would impact other sites with sporting event schedules. Practice schedules are all impacted at the schools when we don’t have enough facilities,” Edds said. 

This rendering shows what Orcutt Academy High School’s new multi-use facility will look like once it’s complete—which should be by winter 2023 or spring 2024.

The district wanted to make a change for its students and presented Orcutt residents with Measure G—a property tax that would create a $60 million bond to address the district’s facilities master plan. The measure passed in 2016, allowing Orcutt Union to enhance security and safety, replace portable classrooms, and add new facilities. About $9 million is funding the creation of a new multi-use facility at the high school—which broke ground on Aug. 1, she said. 

“There was not a real home for the theater program [or for sporting events]; it was another priority. It’s just about giving them a space for sporting events, for school events, for rallies, for theater performances,” Edds continued. “There was just a real need for them to have their own space.” 

The pandemic heightened the need for social interaction as students came back to in-person learning after more than a year of isolation. Edds said she thinks this addition to Orcutt Academy High School will continue the district’s added emphasis on student-to-student connections. 

“It gives them another place to hold that and interact with one another and feel connected to their school and faculty and to each other. It’s going to have a positive impact,” Edds continued. 

The multi-use facility will feature a full-size basketball court, two locker rooms, an attached classroom, an indoor stage, and an outdoor stage. It will also have its own parking lot for student parking and events parking at one end, Edds explained. 

“All of our campuses are [also] open for community members to request. We have activities with local sports teams and groups. When facilities are available, we make them available for other groups to use them as well,” she added.

Edds said she’s worried about supply chain issues and escalating costs of construction—which will be a challenge as this project and other Measure G initiatives move forward—but there shouldn’t be too many added issues because it’s new construction as opposed to a renovation. 

“There are always unforeseen costs, and our hope is to keep the costs down as much as we possibly can; we try to anticipate costs. We intentionally chose the location of the building because we don’t think we’ll run into things like underground utilities,” Edds said.

The project should be complete by winter 2023 or spring 2024, which will help give Orcutt Academy students a sense of belonging, she continued. 

“It provides them with a sense of identity to have our theater program. To have a space where they can leave things set up instead of having to take it down. To have a space where more community members can attend,” Edds said. “To be able to have rallies in their own gym, a facility where the entire student body can be present. 

“We’re excited to provide that for them and elevate the sense of identity they currently have.” 


• Teachers, health care workers, military, and first responders can get a day of family fun this summer with free admission to Boomers Santa Maria. “These front-line workers have been through it all over the last few years,” Boomers Parks CEO Tim Murphy said in a statement. “We hope that Boomers Parks can help lighten the load for these valuable members of our society and create some special memories for their families.” Boomers Parks—a family entertainment center featuring mini golf and go-karts—will provide all-day access passes with $10 in arcade value to these workers and discounted tickets for up to six of their guests depending on the schedule. Teachers will receive discounts from Aug. 3 to Sept. 5, military and first responders from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, and health care workers from Aug. 17 to Oct. 16. Every person should bring a work photo ID and another valid photo ID. To learn more, visit

Taylor O’Connor wrote this week’s Spotlight. You can reach her at

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