The Coast News Group
The front entrance of the newly remodeled and modernized Solana Vista Elementary School in Solana Beach. Courtesy photo
The front entrance of the newly remodeled and modernized Solana Vista Elementary School in Solana Beach. Courtesy photo
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Solana Vista reopens campus after Measure JJ renovations

SOLANA BEACH — Closed since June 2020, Solana Vista Elementary has fully reopened this school year with a brand new campus for students, teachers and staff.

The new campus includes larger classrooms, a professional kitchen providing students with from-scratch meals, a new media center and more. Construction took just about one year before the school partially reopened in August for kindergarten through third-grade students.

Vicki King, president of Solana Beach Elementary School District, was excited for current students but also future generations who will enjoy the fully updated campus for years to come.

“With the reopening of Solana Vista, a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020, we are realizing a dream that exceeded our expectations,” King said. “This school will benefit our children, our families, and our community for years to come.”

At the center of the remodeled campus is a new library.

“The library/media center has natural light and views out the window of nature and our gardens. It is truly the heart of our school, where we are promoting our students’ love of reading,” said Curriculum Resource Teacher Monica Rainville.

The new library and media center at Solana Vista, like most new rooms in the newly renovated Solana Vista school, offers plenty of natural light for students and faculty. Photo by Bill Slane
The new library and media center, like most new rooms in the newly renovated Solana Vista school, offers plenty of natural light for students and faculty. Photo by Bill Slane

Solana Vista Principal Katie Zimmer told The Coast News that providing students in the library with natural light was a major focus for the school. Throughout the entire school, there is not a room or hallway that isn’t touched by natural light from one of its many windows.

Before the update, a significant portion of the campus consisted of portable classroom units. But those are a thing of the past for Solana Vista.

“We’ve gone from that to the Taj Mahal,” Zimmer told The Coast News.

The Coast News toured the grounds accompanied by Zimmer, who was excited to talk about every new amenity and feature of Solana Vista.

”We are all giddy with excitement to return home,” Zimmer said. “Staff members expressed their hope that all students will have a sense of home and belonging, and that they will feel like they can do anything.  Home is an enjoyable, happy place where you can live, laugh, and learn. Now we are home.”

Funding for the remodel came from Measure JJ passed by Solana Beach voters in 2016, providing $105,000,000 for school construction and modernization.

Measure JJ funds have already helped remodel and modernize both Skyline and Solana Highlands Elementary campuses.

Solana Vista’s theme for this school year is “We are better together,” which was adopted after students were placed in either Skyline or Solana Highlands schools during construction last year. The motto is also fitting following the students’ full return to campus for in-person learning since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“We are so pleased to be welcoming our students back to this beautiful campus, inside and out,” said Jodee Brentlinger, superintendent of the Solana Beach Elementary School District.  “We are grateful to the community for making this possible, and we are proud that this collaborative endeavor came in on time and under budget.”

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