A celebration for Solana Highlands

Solana Highlands Elementary School celebrated a ribbon cutting for its $7 million modernization at a school assembly filled with kids and parents on Jan. 12. The renovations included a new entry and administration offices, a new full-service kitchen and indoor food service, outdoor shade structures, solar panels and more.

“This is a tremendous day for us and it’s hard to believe that it was only a year ago in November that our community went to the polls and voted and passed Measure JJ, our bond,” said Solana Beach School District Superintendent Terry Decker, thanking the voters for supporting the $105 million bond that will impact every school in the district. “There is so much change and so much positive energy in our district, ensuring that our facilities are up to par and match the outstanding teaching that we have in our classrooms.”

Solana Beach School District Board President Debra Schade also added her gratitude for the community’s support that allows them to provide innovation and upgrades such as the new solar energy generation capacity and new state-of-the-art school kitchen and nutrition service center.

The 220 solar panels at Solana Highlands Elementary School creates enough electricity to power 10 homes in Solana Beach for one year, saving about $50,000 in energy costs and offsetting 110 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Last spring, parents helped celebrate a new school garden on the Solana Highlands campus and after the ribbon cutting were welcomed to check out the new kitchen and sample a pear crumble.

“This new kitchen and new school garden is the result of our commitment to reinventing our student nutrition program and rethinking school lunch,” Schade said. “Today our school lunches are fresher, healthier and tastier, and inspire a love for fruits and vegetables in our students.”

Schade said the improvements help the district reach its goals to provide equity in school facilities throughout the district. Measure JJ projects that have been competed include shade structures at Solana Vista and Solana Santa Fe and the solar installation at Solana Pacific.

The complete reconstruction of Skyline is underway, set to open in the fall.This year the district is expected to begin planning for its next Measure JJ projects: the reconstruction of Solana Vista and the modernization of Solana Santa Fe and Carmel Creek Elementary Schools.