Plans for a new K-8 school – which may at one point hold as many as 1,600 students – are starting to take shape for the Rancho Mission Viejo project east of San Juan Capistrano.
The school, however, won’t be needed for a few years.
The first residents of the first phase of development – called Sendero off of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway – are about to start moving in. But because part of the project is devoted to senior housing, the 1,227 homes and apartments are only projected to produce 322 K-8 students and 77 ninth-12th-graders, according to a PowerPoint presentation the trustees will see at their meeting Wednesday.
Those students will attend existing local schools, with the Ranch’s developers picking up the cost of any bussing needed, according to the presentation.
Sendero will take through 2015 to build out, according to the presentation. Land is being graded right now in the not-yet-named Planning Area No. 2 – northeast of Sendero and east of Ladera Ranch, although build-out is expected until 2019. It is there where the new K-8 school will be built.
Construction will begin when one of several conditions are met:
- Rancho Mission Viejo produces 300 K-5 students more than the available, permanent capacity for Ambuehl Elementary in San Juan Capistrano (there’s currently 66 open spots) – or
- The 1,150th dwelling unit is two months away from closing escrow
The school will be located in the southerly portion of Planning Area 2 near the future extension of the 241 Toll Road, in an area the developer had to prove was flat enough to accommodate a school, according to the presentation. The trustees on Wednesday are expected to see a video simulation of the site and potential traffic conditions.
Besides permanent accommodations for 1,200 students, the new school will have portable classrooms to serve another 400 students while additional schools are built in the rest of the development, planned for a total of 14,000 homes built over two decades.
The school district estimates it will cost nearly $30 million to build the K-8, including $21 million to buy the land, according to the presentation. The money would be raised by a combination of taking advantage of state funding, developer per-unit fees and additional developer contributions – either directly or from a Mello-Roos district.
Another immediate task is to begin to study what to do with the high school students in the new development. In an earlier discussion, trustees learned that the project may not produce enough ninth-12th-graders to justify building a new high school.
The Board of Trustees meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road.