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Roseville developer, school district break ground on new campus

Elementary school will open in Fiddyment Farm neighborhood in fall 2013
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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West Roseville residents are experiencing what's become an anomaly: Their community is getting a new school.

The groundbreaking for the second elementary school in the West Roseville Specific Plan took place on Brick Mason Circle Wednesday morning. Across the street, construction workers labored on new homes sitting on large lots.

"It's unique to have school construction and it means the local economy is beginning to show signs of life and thriving," said John Tallman, project manager for Roseville Schools, LLC.

A private-public partnership makes this still-unnamed school possible. Roseville Schools is an entity set up by developer Westpark Associates and builder Signature Homes for the sole purpose of building schools in the plan area, Tallman told the Press Tribune.

The total cost of the school, including land, design and construction, is about $21 million, according to Tallman. Roseville Schools secured $9.7 million from the state of California.

The remainder of the funds comes from school impact fees paid by new development within Fiddyment Farm and Westpark.

Roseville City School District and Westpark Associates partnered in 2002, and since that time two of five new schools in the specific plan area have been completed: Junction Elementary School and Barbara Chilton Middle School.

The new campus - No. 19 in the district - will be located in the Fiddyment Farm neighborhood and open in fall 2013.

Roseville Schools and the district formalized an agreement for this campus in 2006, but then the economy sank and housing construction stalled in west Roseville.

Project managers held several back-and-forth discussions on whether the unfinished Fiddyment Farm neighborhood could produce enough students to fill a new school.

"A funny thing happened to me on the way to the groundbreaking," said school board President Gary Miller. "I got lost."

He said that won't be the case five years from now when the surrounding area builds up, as intended in the West Roseville Specific Plan, which covers 3,162 acres and is expected to eventually accommodate about 22,332 residents.

Growth at the nearby Junction Elementary School helped convince project managers to proceed with the campus, said Roseville City School District Superintendent Richard Pierucci.

Junction opened four years ago with 250 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, and this past year the campus had more than 800 pupils, Pierucci said.

This fall, Junction will transition to kindergarten through fourth grade, and Barbara Chilton Middle School will open, serving students in fifth through eighth grade.

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.