Solana Vista design develops, traffic study completed

A look at the design schematic for Solana Vista School. The exterior colors are not reflected in the rendering.

The Solana Beach School District continues its public outreach effort as work moves forward on the new Solana Vista Elementary School. The project will completely update the 38-year-old school situated in the middle of a residential Solana Beach neighborhood.

“We listened to the community and incorporated some of their ideas to make the school fit into their neighborhood,” said Paul Gallegos of AlphaStudio Design Group at the board’s April 18 meeting.

The architecture builds on the village concept and the exterior will be stucco with stone accents and trellis elements. Gallegos said they continue to develop window placement and sizes for the one-story school which will all be under one roof with interior corridors, preserving the existing sports fields.

The latest design developments include improved parking lot circulation, a safer pedestrian route into the campus and rotating the multi-purpose room so it is more in line with the main campus buildings, creating a more functional hard-court play space. They have also enlarged the STEAM and art classrooms.

A view of the back of the new Solana Vista campus. Courtesy

Caroline Brown, executive director of capital programs and technology, said with the design they are looking to re-purpose some artifacts from the old Solana Vista into the new campus, including wood from the kiva, mosaics in the third grade patio, five tile benches and a time capsule.

“I think it looks like a school the community will be very proud of,” said SBSD President Julie Union.

The district held a community meeting on April 16 that discussed the project’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process and the traffic study.

The school’s proposed new driveway entrance will be a right-turn only in between Santa Bartola and Santa Cecelia—currently traffic enters farther up on Santa Victoria. The new driveway configuration aims to get cars off Santa Victoria and stacking internally in the parking lot and exiting back on Santa Victoria close to Santa Carina.

The traffic study analyzed the impacts on Santa Victoria’s intersections with Santa Carina, Santa Cecelia, Santa Bartola, as well as the roadway segment between Santa Victoria and Santa Helena.

“The proposed modernization and reconstruction to Solana Vista Elementary School can be implemented without significantly impacting any of the study intersections or roadway segment,” read the report by IBI Group.

The study stated all three intersections and the roadway segment will operate at an acceptable level of service and no mitigation measures were determined as necessary.

Brown said the district continues to work with the city and civil engineers to develop the left and right turn options for the new and existing driveway access locations.

The CEQA document will be available for public review in May and the traffic study is posted to the district’s website under the Measure JJ tab.

SBSD Vice President Rich Leib applauded the district’s efforts to solicit input from the community as last summer he felt that the project was being rushed.

“Congratulations to Caroline and Jodee (Brentlinger, superintendent) for slowing the process down and really understanding what the community wanted,” Leib said. “I think the process yields us a much better school that the community will like.”

The board will next hear a design update in June; interior colors and materials will be unveiled in October.

The timeline remains for construction to begin in June 2020 with the buildings ready for student occupancy in August 2021. During the one-year construction, students will be housed at Skyline and Solana Highlands schools.

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