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Calexico master plan calls for two new high schools

December 11, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Calexico Unified School District's 10-year master plan calls for a second high school on the west side of town and a third high school on the southeast side of town off Bowker Road south of Highway 98.

In addition to the new high schools, the district is looking to build a number of elementary schools and two large junior high schools, according to district Superintendent Robert Moreno.

At the city Planning Commission meeting Monday, Moreno sketched out the district's building plans.

He started his presentation by explaining why the district needs to build so many schools

In the last three years, the district has taken in around 800 new students. This year the district welcomed 420 more students.

Moreno expects the district to take in thousands more students in the near future.

According to yield studies the district has worked out, more than 5,000 school-age children will be housed in the new homes under construction or planned for the area near Cole Road and planned for the old CM Ranch area off Bowker Road.

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To comfortably educate those children, the district will need to build new schools — and soon, he said.

One of the first schools that will be built is called Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

It will be south of Cole Road and just east of Meadows Road. The school will house 850 kids initially with a capacity to house 200 to 400 more, Moreno said.

If everything goes according to plan, the school could go out to bid in January 2003 and open for students in fall 2004.

Another school the district is in the process of planning hasn't been named yet but the district has mapped out its tentative location. It will be near the Las Brisas development on the southeast side of town.

In the coming weeks the district will commission soil studies of land in that area to determine the best place to build.

As for the new high schools, Moreno said the district is looking to convert Willie Moreno Junior High School into a high school by building additions on the various parcels of land that abut the school to the south and east.

That plan could be hampered, however, as an Indio-based landowner has proposed building low-income housing on the parcels he owns, Moreno said.

He said the developer, Sam Jack of Indio, has asked the district if it is "ready to go."

Moreno said the district board hasn't finalized its plans but could decide to buy that land and build on it by exercising its eminent domain powers.

If Willie Moreno is converted into a high school, the district would look into building a junior high school to take in the displaced junior high students.

One possibility mentioned by Moreno on Monday night has the district buying the garbage strewn lot between Lincoln Street and Highway 98.

That land, owned by a small cadre of landowners, has been undeveloped for years and slowly been transformed into a pit stop for transients and a dump for locals.

Moreno said the 19 acres is almost a perfect amount of space for a junior high.

Moreno finished his presentation with, "Now you have a sense of what we want to do."

City Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa told the planning commissioners that future developers might have to donate a school site as a requirement before preparing a tentative map of their proposals.

He said that any development cannot be approved without some kind of clearance from the school district.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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