Village News Reporter
The Bonsall Unified School District and Tri Pointe Homes, which owns the land of the Citro development, have identified a preferred site for an elementary school to be built on the Citro property. Citro was called Meadowood in January 2012 when the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the development and certified the project’s Environmental Impact Report.
The likely specific location of the elementary school led the school district to develop an addendum for the EIR, and a 3-0 BUSD board vote May 17 with Larissa Anderson and Pascal Lapoirie absent approved the addendum.
“It’s our ongoing due diligence to ensure that any property that we are interested in acquiring is safe and appropriate for a school,” said BUSD Superintendent Joseph Clevenger.
The residential component of Citro is now expected to consist of 473 single-family and 352 multi-family homes. The map also includes land for an elementary school which will be built by the Bonsall Unified School District; the school district and Tri Pointe Homes are in negotiations for the acquisition of that land. The current tentative plan is for the school district to acquire approximately 11.2 acres southeast of the intersection of Horse Ranch Creek Road at Shire Court.
“The footprint that we are looking at is actually already evaluated for a school,” Clevenger said.
Up to 650 students residing east of Interstate 15 and north of West Lilac Road would attend the new school. The Bonsall district evaluated the site using state standards for school site selection and determined that the site is feasible for development as a school and would not create health and safety hazards for future school occupants.
Because the previous EIR for Meadowood evaluated impacts, the school district was able to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act process with the preparation of an addendum. An evaluation of the impacts determined that construction would result in potentially significant impacts to air quality, biological resources, and archaeological resources but that mitigation measures identified in the EIR would reduce the effects to below significant. The school would not cause new significant environmental effects or substantially increase the severity of previously identified significant effects.
The addendum refined characteristics of the school including the size of the school site, the school attendance boundaries, grade levels, enrollment capacity, the site layout, and access points.
The campus would have approximately 75,500 square feet of building area and 30 classrooms. The school would comply with the California Building Code and the California Green Building Code for public school construction as well as the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The structures would be on the northern portion of the site while recreational spaces and surface parking would be in the southern areas. All buildings would be set back at least 50 feet from the eastern property line to enhance wildfire safety.
The facilities for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students would be at the northeast portion of the campus. That part of the school would be separated from the rest of the campus by fencing and would include a one-story building and outdoor learning and play areas. The TK/K classroom would encompass 15,400 square feet and have four classrooms, teacher workrooms, and student and staff restrooms.
A pair of two-story classroom buildings would house the lower and upper grades. The classroom building for the lower grades would be along the northern perimeter and the building for the upper grades would be in the northwest corner. Those classroom buildings would include specialty classrooms and would face a courtyard designed to accommodate outdoor learning.
The classroom for the lower grades would have 16,500 square feet with 12 classrooms, three specialty classrooms, teacher workrooms, and student restrooms. The upper grades building would be 12,600 square feet and have eight classrooms, three specialty classrooms, teacher workrooms, and student restrooms.
The administration, multipurpose, and library buildings would each be one story. The administration building and library would be centrally located and would separate the student loading areas, driveways, and parking from the instructional areas. The multipurpose building would be constructed along the western perimeter south of the building for the upper grades, and the buildings would serve as a barrier from Horse Ranch Creek Road.
The multipurpose building would have a small kitchen and be used as the school gymnasium and indoor lunchroom. Fencing would be installed around the main building area for security purposes. The 17,800 square foot multipurpose building would include storage as well as the 14,400 square foot gymnasium and the 3,400 square foot kitchen.
The 4,600 square foot library would include computer labs, meeting rooms, and storage areas. The 8,600 square foot administration building would have administration offices, a nurse office, a staff lounge, restrooms, meeting spaces, and storage areas.
An outdoor lunch shelter would be east of the multipurpose building. The lower grade recess area would be between the lunch shelter and the administration building. The upper grade athletic facilities, including a natural turf multipurpose field and basketball courts, would be along the western perimeter south of the multipurpose building. Nighttime field lighting is not proposed. The outdoor recreational areas would have a higher fence for ball containment.
Several points of entry would be provided for pedestrian access into the school building area. The administration building would be the “front door” of the campus. Access gates are also proposed at the student and bus loading areas.
Direct access from the neighborhood would be available from a gated entrance at Shire Court in the northwest portion of the campus. All access gates would close after the morning bell and reopen after the end of classes. During the school day the only entrance would be through the administration building.
Two vehicle access points would be provided. An ingress-only driveway from Shire Court would be one way and include two lanes along the northeast and eastern perimeters. The driveway would fork into a two-lane loading area near the TK/K building and school library in the northeast portion of the campus, and school bus loading would also occur at that location.
The driveway would continue to the southern portion of the campus towards the school parking lot with 108 stalls and a longer curbside loading area in front of the administration building.
Although public schools are exempt from the county’s Zoning Ordinance, the number of parking stalls complies with the ordinance’s provisions for junior high or middle schools which require one parking space per employee and 10 for visitors. The multiple drop-off zones would minimize potential vehicle stacking.
All vehicles would be required to exit the campus at the southern end of the parking lot and (due to a raised median on Horse Ranch Creek Road) turn right. The southern driveway would not generally be used for inbound traffic flow but would be available for bus, emergency vehicle, and maintenance vehicle access. Bicycle racks would be provided near the pedestrian entry on Shire Court and near the administration building.
Landscaping would occur throughout the campus including in the parking lot, around proposed buildings, and in the outdoor learning areas. Trees, shrubs, ground covers, and other vegetation will be from an approved list developed for fire management objectives.
The California Green Building Code features would include orienting buildings to maximize daylight and minimize the need for artificial lights, insulation in walls and attic spaces, high-efficiency windows and doors, efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems for all building spaces, Energy Star appliances, water-efficient plumbing fixtures for toilets and sinks, tankless water heater systems, recycled water for common area landscape irrigation, drought-tolerant plants in landscape design, water-efficient irrigation systems with smart sensor controls, electric vehicle charging stations, and solar panels.
The utility systems would be connected to the existing infrastructure under Horse Ranch Creek Road and Shire Court. The school site would have biofiltration basins, tree wells, and modular wetland systems installed throughout the campus to provide stormwater treatment without restricting site usage.
The tree wells would collect runoff while providing shade. The underground basins and modular systems would be lined with an impermeable liner and sized to accommodate the required design capture volume and hydromodification volumes and to treat stormwater in accordance with County of San Diego requirements.
Two crosswalks at the intersection of Horse Ranch Creek Road and Shire Court will be painted yellow for high visibility. School area warning signs will be installed along Horse Ranch Creek Road. If the county’s Department of Public Works desires other traffic control features including speed limit signs and roadway markings those may be installed.
Construction of the school would commence after the Division of the State Architect approves the building and construction plans. Construction is currently expected to begin during the first quarter of 2027 and last approximately 18 months, and the school would open in fall 2028.
The administration building, kitchen, and portions of the TK/K classroom building, library, and multipurpose building would require aggregate piers of compacted stone installed to depths up to 45 feet below ground surface to increase bearing pressure and mitigate potential settlement under the structural footings.
In building areas where ground improvement is not considered necessary excavation would be performed to a depth of four feet below the proposed grade. Lightly loaded upright structures such as flagpoles and signposts would meet California Building Code standards.
A construction traffic control plan and a stormwater pollution prevention plan will be prepared prior to the start of construction. During the construction the entire site will be fenced with green screening. The driveways providing construction access will be stabilized and installed with a tire wash.
No construction or demolition activity shall discharge visible dust emissions into the atmosphere beyond the property line for more than three minutes in any 60-minute period. Visible roadway dust shall be minimized by measures which could include track-out grates or gravel beds at each egress point, wheel washing at each egress during muddy conditions, soil binders, chemical soil stabilizers, geotextiles, mulching, seeding, watering for dust control, and secured tarps or cargo covering.
Erosion control measures must be removed at the conclusion of each workday when active operations cease or every 24 hours for continuous operations.