Del Mar Schools to purchase property for ninth school in Pacific Highlands Ranch

A rendering of the front of the new Pacific Highlands Ranch school and DMUSD central cafeteria.

At its Jan. 22 meeting the Del Mar Union School District board approved the purchase of the 10.5-acre property in Pacific Highlands Ranch from Pardee Homes as they prepare to begin construction on the district’s ninth school this year. DMUSD Trustee Doug Rafner proposed they place a huge “In Escrow” over the Pardee sign on Solterra Vista Parkway site that reads “Proposed Del Mar elementary school.”

“This is really exciting for me,” said DMUSD Board Clerk Gee Wah Mok, who first got involved attending school board meetings two years ago, helping to advocate along with fellow East Pacific Highlands Ranch residents to get this new neighborhood school built to meet the needs of the students. “Now we’re purchasing the land…we’re at a point that I didn’t know would ever happen.”

The purchase of the property for school #9 is governed by a 1998 mitigation agreement with Pardee and that has what is known as a pro forma value of $10,989,643, which is what the district will pay for the land. The district plans to break ground on the new school in fall/winter 2020 and welcome new students in fall 2022.

The design for the new 61,215-square-foot school has been evolving since community design meetings began last spring. The design for the school on Terrazo Court and Solterra Vista includes 20 modern learning studios, an innovation center for student collaboration and explorations, and a multi-use room. The school will feature hard court play and natural play structures and an approximately 100,000 square feet turf field with a jogging track around it, next to the future public park.

A rendering of the new PHR school.

The school will also be home to the school district’s new central cafeteria. Located at the front corner of the campus, Director of Capital Programs Chris Delehanty said OBR Achitecture has created a design for the facility that ties into the rest of the school.

“We’re excited about how this has come together and how it will serve the district as a whole,” said Delehanty, noting that Del Mar is among the few school districts in the region that does not have a central kitchen, instead contracting out for its school lunch provider.

Delehanty said that more PHR School renderings are expected to be provided during the facilities update at next month’s board meeting.