New Campus

Use Permit Approved for New Campus

On October 25, 2016 – just shy of two years from the date we first submitted our use permit application – the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the school’s use permit for a our K-8 campus on our 20-acre site at the north edge of town and adjacent to the West County Bike Trail.  This is a significant milestone in the school’s twenty-year quest to establish a permanent and unified campus.

What does the use permit approval mean?
It means that we can build a school on the property we purchased almost three years ago. For us, it means that we have a permanent and secure home for a unified, K-8 school: the dream of every charter school that unfortunately very few are able to attain. We will finally have enough space for the children to play without having to cross city streets to use public parks. Our families will no longer have multiple drop-offs and pick-ups at two different sites. Our students will have room to play, to garden, and to explore outside their classrooms.

What about the neighbors?
Those of you who attended the four-hour long use permit hearing are aware that while we have received warm words of welcome from many neighbors, some have expressed their concerns about our school moving into the neighborhood.  The primary fear is that school traffic will impact the Hurlbut neighborhood streets.  It is critically important – and not just because our use permit requires it, but because it is the right thing to do – that all of us are respectful and considerate community members. That means not only strictly following all traffic rules at all times, but extending our compassionate understanding to those who are understandably concerned about this significant change.

What’s next?
The timing is such that the rainy season will prevent us from starting significant construction such as grading and infrastructure work until the spring.  We applied for building permits simultaneously with the use permit application, and we will be able to begin the Phase One construction as soon as weather allows.

When will school start on the new campus?
There are only two good moving times for a school: winter break or summer break. We’re hoping to move onto the site during winter break of next school year. If that isn’t feasible, we’ll start school in August of 2018 on the new campus.

Can we afford this?
Yes. Just as the facilities advisory committee has been very diligent in preparing for the logistical aspects of building a school, it has been very diligent in the financial planning as well.  The Phase One construction project is well within reach, without any sacrifices to school programming – which are now and will remain the school’s first priority.

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