Forty-one years ago, Solana Vista Elementary School opened its doors to its first classes of students. Solana Beach School District is now celebrating the school's reopening — renewed and modernized — to a new generation of students. Closed since June 2020, the campus has undergone a complete transformation.
Board President Vicki King said, "With the reopening of Solana Vista, a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020, we are realizing a dream that exceeded our expectations. This school will benefit our children, our families, and our community for years to come."
The redesigned campus includes large classrooms, a beautiful media center, a state-of-the-art science, technology, research, engineering, arts, and math (STREAM) lab, a professional kitchen, and student-friendly outdoor areas.
The school's design team also provided many features to help students learn about the environment and the importance of renewable energy and sustainability. Solar panels will be installed on the roof, cisterns will gather rainwater to be reused for irrigation, a bioswale will filter rainwater to protect the ocean from runoff, and students will learn how to grow plants for beauty and nutrition in the gardens.
The new library is also a prominent feature of the campus. "The library/media center has natural light and views out the window of nature and our gardens. It is truly the heart of our school, where we are promoting our students' love of reading." said Curriculum Resource Teacher Monica Rainville.
Principal Katie Zimmer said, "We are all giddy with excitement to return home. Staff members expressed their hope that all students will have a sense of home and belonging, and that they will feel like they can do anything. Home is an enjoyable, happy place where you can live, laugh, and learn. Now we are home."
The district hosted a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured music from the Solana Beach School District Band, delicious refreshments provided by the district's Child Nutrition Services department, and the opportunity for families to view the festivities virtually.
Solana Vista's reconstruction project was funded by a general obligation bond, Measure JJ, which was passed by the voters in 2016. Measure JJ projects are overseen by an independent citizens' oversight committee to ensure community involvement in the construction process and to monitor all bond projects and expenditures.
"This has been a team effort, and it has been my pleasure to work with such exceptional professionals, including the board, our administrative team, the design team, the architects and engineers and contractors," said Assistant Superintendent Lisa Davis.
"We are so pleased to be welcoming our students back to this beautiful campus, inside and out" said Superintendent Jodee Brentlinger. "We are grateful to the community for making this possible, and we are proud that this collaborative endeavor came in on time and under budget."