Developer ready to start building new school

first_imgVALENCIA – On a plateau with a panoramic view, across the street from new homes being built, officials on Monday celebrated the start of construction on a $35 million school. When it opens in 2009, West Creek Elementary will be the first school in the Santa Clarita Valley built by a developer. It also will have room to grow, with enough classroom space for 720 students immediately, but with the infrastructure and layout to accommodate 920. “If we stay focused on teamwork, integrity and the responsibility of all of us working together, I think we will get there with just the most beautiful school in the valley,” said Judy Fish, superintendent of the Saugus Union School District. He later joked that “our consultants have consultants.” The 11-acre school site is an empty plateau at the base of graded hillsides of dirt with a slightly orange tinge. It looks out over a tree-dotted view of hills and mountains. Three of the classroom buildings will each have two stories, which saves more than three acres for playing areas, Cutting said. The school also will be wired for technology, allowing classes to transmit audiovisual presentations to the whole school district, he said. Developers normally pay fees to school districts toward school construction. But Newhall Land will pay for all the construction on West Creek Elementary, Cutting said. [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Newhall Land and Farming Company will manage construction of the school for the school district. The developer proposed the idea of building the school, Newhall Land spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer said. While developer-built schools are a recent phenomenon, they benefit as a developer takes advantage of cost savings from building a school along with a housing development, instead of as a separate project, she said. West Creek Elementary is part of the new West Creek and West Hills communities, where 2,300 homes are planned. Because more California schools are being built by developers, state regulations may have to shift to ease the process, said Robert Cutting, assistant superintendent for the school district. Cutting told the crowd at Monday’s ceremony that planning a school this new way is not easy. “This is probably the most complicated transaction that we’ve ever attempted at the district and one of the most creative – and we’ve done a lot of things,” he said. last_img read more