DMUSD breaks ground on its 9th school: Pacific Sky

Future Pacific Sky students helped with the groundbreaking.
(Karen Billing)

For the first time in over a year, the Del Mar Union School District board and staff gathered in-person for an exciting milestone event: the groundbreaking of the new Pacific Sky School on June 24.

At the ceremony on the Pacific Highlands Ranch construction site, DMUSD Superintendent Holly McClurg pointed out the most important guests: the future students of Pacific Sky. Several youngsters were invited to partake in the groundbreaking, eagerly and ambitiously digging with their little plastic shovels.

“The sky’s the limit for this school and the district couldn’t be more excited to break ground on
our ninth campus,” McClurg said. “It’s been long planned for the Pacific Highlands Ranch community and we appreciate the community’s support and patience through this process.”

The 67,000 square feet school on 10.47 acres on Solterra Vista Parkway will have the capacity for 480 students with 20 K-6 classrooms.

Chris Delehanty, the district’s executive director of capital programs, stated that community outreach helped shape the plan from the ground up with local San Diego architectural firm OBR Architecture bringing the ideas to life.

The school will include STEAM+ spaces for exploration in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics; an innovation center/multi-use room to maximize flexible space for education and events; a blacktop play area; and a field that will accommodate both soccer and baseball as well as other sports.

DMUSD Superintendent Holly McClurg, DMUSD board and staff and SD City Councilmember Joe LaCava break ground on the new Pacific Sky School.
(Karen Billing)

The school site will also be home to the new modern central cafeteria, allowing Del Mar to meet the nutritional needs of all children throughout the district.

“It feels like yesterday that the school was just an idea on an oversized page of the facilities master plan,” DMUSD President Erica Halpern remarked at the groundbreaking

She remembers visiting the site on a facilities tour, pulling up to the “Future School Site” sign that marked the spot.

“It really seemed farfetched at the time since the district didn’t even own the land, it wasn’t even clear that we wanted to own the land or build a school,” Halpern said. “But our outreach process illuminated what we’ve always known to be a priority: Neighborhood schools.”

Four years, a successful general obligation bond campaign and a global pandemic later, Erickson-Hall Construction Company began construction activity on the property in May.

Pacific Sky plans to welcome new students on Aug. 15, 2022.

After the school is complete, a new community park will be built on the neighboring property that will include playgrounds, grassy turf, two lit tennis courts, two lit pickleball courts and a full-size basketball court. The park is scheduled to open in late 2023.

DMUSD board member Katherine Fitzpatrick and Clerk Gee Wah Mok help start the dig.
(Karen Billing)