| Filed under

The Elk Grove Unified School District board will begin public discussion next week about what's involved in keeping Cosumnes River Elementary School open while a new school is built on the Highway 16 site. Referring to the simultaneous tasks, Board of Education President Brian Myers said, "We've never done anything like this before."

Myers announced the Aug. 19 meeting in a forum posting.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Myers said the school district wants to accommodate the community's desire to keep the school open during the construction process. The Aug. 19 school board meeting in Elk Grove will begin the discussion about construction details, and a meeting in the community is expected to follow, Myers said. He added that no decision will be made at this time.

Alternatives to remaining on site include placing students at Sunrise Elementary or keeping the school intact by moving teachers and students to Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School in Elk Grove, Myers said.

Parents will have input in the decision, and staff will have to decide if teaching could continue in a construction environment, Myers said. "Nobody's trying to force anybody into anything," he said.

A 22-member task force of parents, teachers, staff and community members headed by CRES Principal Michael Gulden is working on a recommendation for what to do with the existing school community during the construction phase. This will not be an issue during the 2008-2009 school year, but  it comes into play the following year, school officials say.

Myers said keeping the school open during the construction process is complicated by the extensive grading required for the hilly site. While most of the major grading would take place next summer after school lets out, leveling the 50-foot elevation means "a huge mountain" of dirt will grow behind the existing school, Myers said. The dirt would remain until the old school is torn down and the dirt is used to fill the hole where the building stood.

Myers said the project will cause traffic disruptions on Highway 16, the main commuter route to Sacramento from Rancho Murieta. Road work includes widening both sides of Highway 16 and creating a new intersection with a realigned Kiefer Boulevard, he said.

Myers said 32 agencies have been involved with planning the school, and so far no "oops" problem has emerged. "I think we're actually going to get it built," he said. "The process is going to be hard. ... People are going to have to put up with a mess for a while."

Previous coverage

Your comments