After years of planning and building, the Lemon Grove community will get
to explore its new library June 1 as part of a celebration that
includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony, health-themed block party, fun run,
musical performance from students and speeches.
The 13,210-square-foot library building is on the campus of the Lemon
Grove Academy for Sciences and Humanities, which is also the site of the
community’s first school. The Mission Revival style building will
feature Lemon Grove School District’s original school bell from 1894,
which will ring again for the first time at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The library, located at 3001 School Lane, will be operated by the San
Diego County Library System.
The community has worked toward building its own permanent library
building for decades. Before the opening, the Lemon Grove branch of the
county library system was in a much smaller rented space. Having the new
library will increase students’ access not only to books but to all
sorts of information, said Ernest Anastos, superintendent of the Lemon Grove School District.
“What this really is to me is the culmination of years and years of work
on the part of the community and the school district to bring a
first-class library, not just to the students but to the entire
community of Lemon Grove,” he said. “This is just an enormous leap.”
The project was paid for with borrowing voters approved in 2008 with
Proposition W, a $28 million school-construction bond that also funded
renovation work at other Lemon Grove School District campuses. The San
Diego County Office of Education helped facilitate and oversee the work
through a joint powers authority formed five years ago with school
districts in Lemon Grove and across the county.
“We have put our blood, sweat and tears into that project,” said Joanne
Branch, school facility planning coordinator for the San Diego County
Office of Education. “It’s a special thing to us.”
Through the authority, San Diego County Office of Education employees
manage construction projects and other related work for local school and
community college districts. The library, which is the first major
project for the authority, came in on time and budget.
The service is particularly helpful for small districts that may not
have a large team that knows about construction, Anastos said.
“It worked out beautifully for us,” he said. “They provided us a vehicle
by which we, as a school district, could take an established budget,
envision a project and basically ask them to help us realize that
project by providing some options.”