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District plans for future pupils

New building would remove portables, make more room for kids to play

Posted: April 30, 2009 10:21 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2009 9:00 a.m.
Plans to construct a two-story classroom building at Emblem Elementary School as a way to keep up with three planned housing developments near the Saugus school are under way, Saugus Union School District officials said Thursday.

"As those developments come up, all those children would go to Emblem. We want them to have the facilities," said Bob Cutting, assistant superintendent of business for the Saugus Union School District.

The planned housing developments include River Village, Keystone and Soledad Village.

The two-story building would provide classrooms for the elementary school, Cutting said.

Because of the economic slowdown, the two-story building is not needed at present.

"Right now with the current enrollment at Emblem, the facilities are adequate," he said.

The district submitted plans to the Department of State Architects, but has yet to receive approval for the project.

"We don't have a definite timeline," Cutting said.

The district anticipates that the project will cost $20 million, but that figure could change when the district goes out to bid on the project, he said.

The classroom building at Emblem is the final phase of modernization for the school, Cutting said.

Constructing a permanent building allows for the district to remove portables from Emblem, freeing up more play area for the children, he said.

With most school sites at about 10 acres in size, multiple-story building allow for schools to make better use of space, Cutting said.

Other Saugus Union schools like Tesoro del Valle, Rio Vista and Skyblue Mesa elementary schools already have two-story classroom buildings, he said.

Lennar's River Village housing project off Newhall Ranch Road, one of the developments that would funnel students to Emblem, is selling homes now, said Marlee Lauffer, spokeswoman for Newhall Land and Farming Co.

"Homes are actively selling right now, just at a slower pace," she said.

From the roughly 1,000 homes, half are multi-family and condominiums while the other half are single-family, Lauffer said.
Less than 100 homes have been sold so far, she said.

Another Lennar project, Soledad Village, planned for Soledad Canyon Road near the Metrolink station, will bring about 400 multi-family homes, she said.

The project is not under development, but has been approved by the city, Lauffer said.

The Keystone housing development is being developed by Brookfield Homes and Synergy Land. The project would bring between 400 and 500 homes to the north of the Santa Clara River and south of the intersection of Bouquet Canyon and Plum Canyon roads.

"Like many developments, it's one that has been slowed down because the demand went away," said Paul Brotzman, the city's community development director.

Still, the market could be changing.

"We're beginning to see the demand return," he said. "The development community is beginning to position their projects so as they see the demand continue to pick up, they are prepared to start moving forward with the projects."


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