Reposted from Carlsbad Current-Argus 5:38 p.m. MDT July 12, 2016

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad’s new elementary schools, Desert Willow and Ocotillo, will be ready to welcome students at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, officials said.

About 91 percent of construction on both schools is currently completed, said Don Owen, director of operations for Carlsbad Municipal Schools. Superintendent Gary Perkowski said that the projects are ahead of schedule and under budget.

“It went smooth as possible,” said Superintendent Gary Perkowski. Construction began in 2015 and the schools were estimated to cost approximately $46.5 million.

Lee Gruen, the project manager of Bradbury Stamm Construction, and Mitchell & Cruse Architecture conducted a “punch list” inspection Monday, canvassing both schools and checking for construction items that need modification.

“We check every room including storage rooms,” Gruen said. “There will always be items needing to be fixed.”

Gruen said minor repairs will be made from that inspection, and a second “punch list” inspection will be done prior to opening the schools.

Owen said both schools passed the fire marshal inspection last week, which allowed the district to obtain a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy (TCO). The TCO and the amount of completed construction means principals and teachers will be able to move in the schools while it’s still under construction.

Owen said Pate and Puckett Elementary furniture and supplies will be moved to Desert Willow starting Monday. Hillcrest and Riverside Elementary will consolidate their equipment into Ocotillo starting July 21.

“We are very excited and the principal and teachers are excited,” Perkowski said. “They’re almost ready to go.”

An open house and ribbon cutting for the schools is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. August 8. The buildings will be open to the public and students for tours during the open house.

The ribbon cutting for Ocotillo, 2106 Captain Williams Lane, will be at 3:30 p.m., and the ribbon cutting for Desert Willow located at 2100 Primrose St.will be at 4:30 p.m.

“We hope the community is excited,” Perkowski said.