Design concept approved for Laguna Ridge school

An illustration of the main entrance for the future Laguna Ridge East Elementary School.

An elementary school campus that has an oak forest-inspired theme could open in Elk Grove’s Laguna Ridge area in 2022.

This school is tentatively named, Laguna Ridge East Elementary School, and its 10-acre site is near the corner of Poppy Ridge Road and Lousada Drive. The school will neighbor Cosumnes Oaks High School and Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School as well as a future park.

The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) board approved its design concept during their Sept. 1 meeting that was held online.

“During these unprecedented times, we all long for getting back to our usual norms and our usual business,” said Rob Pierce, the district’s deputy superintendent of facilities and business services.

The board reviewed illustrations of the campus that incorporates existing oak trees, wood-colored stone walls, and classroom buildings that have murals of trees and forest animals. The board also watched a computer animation that showed the campus through a visitor’s eye.

Trustee Dr. Crystal Martinez-Alire said that the video made her reminisce about life before the COVID-19 pandemic when people could gather at a space. The Elk Grove school district’s campuses have been closed since March and students started their new school year last month by taking online classes and other forms of distance learning.

“(I’m) hopeful for the future of what can happen for our youth in the schools, and hopeful with moving forward in the stages,” Martinez-Alire said.

Following board approval, the school’s designs will be submitted to California’s Division of the State Architect for review this fall. District spokesperson Xanthi Pinkerton said that plans are to start construction next spring and to open the school in August 2022.

This project will be paid by Measure M and state bond funds, as well as developer fees. Laguna Ridge East Elementary is intended to serve the growing Laguna Ridge community.

During her presentation to the school board, Planner Laura Knauss of the Lionakis design firm said that the school’s design sets a new standard for future elementary schools since it’s based on a “new educational specification.” Ideas for the campus design also came from online polls, she said.

Laguna Ridge East Elementary will also include an outdoor learning area called, “The Grove” at the southeastern corner of the campus.

“I’ve seen a lot of elementary schools built in Elk Grove in my time and with the news specs this is really going to be a beautiful school,” Trustee Chet Madison said.

He added that the Laguna Ridge area needs the schools since more housing construction is taking place there.

“We need to put the kids in there,” Madison said.

Plans for the future school’s permanent name and mascot have not been announced, as of press time. The Elk Grove school district traditionally names elementary schools after prominent community members, educators, or education leaders.