Solana Vista update: solar panels, rain barrels to be incorporated into new school

Solana Vista School will be completely reconstructed in 2020.
(Karen Billing)

Design development continues on the new Solana Vista campus in Solana Beach. At the Solana Beach School District board’s June 20 meeting, the board heard a progress report on the school’s design including the addition of sustainability enhancements such as tubular daylighting, photovoltaic panels on the slanted areas of the roof and water harvesting through rain barrels.

The 38-year-old school on Santa Victoria will be completely reconstructed next year. The design of the new one-story campus stays within the footprint of the existing school and there will be no loss to the playing fields utilized by Solana Beach soccer and little league baseball. Currently the school only has nine permanent classrooms with the majority of classrooms in portables. The new design calls for 24 permanent classrooms, including eight specialty classrooms.

The board took a look at the design layout for the classrooms, expressing some concern about a lack of storage space. As they are overseeing the building of their third school (after Solana Ranch and Skyline), board members Vicki King and Debra Schade wanted as much teacher input as possible on the instructional spaces to ensure that the district is providing what they need.

In reviewing the design of the multi-use room, board members suggested converting a proposed lobby area into more functional space—as Schade said, the building on the kindergarten through third grade campus will be geared more toward families and kids rather than hosting large events.

The school’s 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.

According to SBSD Superintendent Jodee Brentlinger, the community still has some concerns about how the traffic circulation will work, as well as the impacts of one-year construction on the neighborhood.

Community engagement will continue in the fall as the design team looks at colors, materials and landscaping. The board will hear a presentation about the proposed colors and materials at its October meeting.

After getting approval from the Division of State Architecture, the district is hoping to get through the Coastal Commission by March 2020. Construction aims to begin in June 2020, according to Caroline Brown, executive director of capital programs.

During the one-year construction timeline, the district plans to house students off-site at Skyline or Solana Highlands schools.