City, school district set to complete land swap

By From page A1 | November 17, 2012

laurel land, 11/16/12

A jogger runs along the path between Laurel Creek Elementary School and Laurel Creek, by land proposed for use in an expansion of the school. The proposed land swap involves the city of Fairifeld, the Fairfield-Suisun School District and the Solano Transportation Authority. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

FAIRFIELD — A land deal between three local entities that will increase the size of Laurel Creek Elementary School could be approved next week by the City Council.

The swap between the city of Fairfield, the Fairfield-Suisun School District and the Solano Transportation Authority has been discussed for more than a year and is likely to be finalized when the City Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The city would give the school district 7.2 acres of Laurel Creek Park that will be used to expand Laurel Creek Elementary to a K-8 school over the next four years. The piece of land is a portion of the park with no grass or playgrounds.

Fairfield would get the district’s vacant, 7.7-acre site of the former Green Valley Middle School on Ritchie Road near Cordelia. Fairfield would flip that site to the Solano Transportation Authority to use in the Interstates 80 and 680 interchange renovation project. That land would be used to house a transfer station and high-pressure pipeline for Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The city would use the money from the sale to buy other park land, specifically in the area of the planned train station and development near Peabody and Vanden roads, according to staff reports.

Each site is valued around $1 million, according to staff reports. Because the original site at Green Valley was partly funded by the state, the district would have been responsible to pay the state back most of any profit made if sold directly, said Kim Van Gundy, facilities manager for the Fairfield-Suisun School District.

Plans to expand Laurel Creek were approved Thursday by the Fairfield-Suisun School District’s governing board. Plans call for four to six new classrooms to accommodate new students in the K-8 model in the next four years. Specific details about the expansion will be brought to district trustees in the future.

Van Gundy said the district wanted to better utilize one of the few schools north of Air Base Parkway. She said new facilities were needed at the campus even if the configuration wasn’t approved.

The recommended land for an elementary school is 10 acres, Van Gundy said. With Laurel Creek currently at seven acres, the land swap fills another need, she said.

Van Gundy said the city didn’t have to get involved and credited staff with sticking with a project that has dragged on longer than expected.

“I have to give big accolades to the city. The city did not just do the right thing, but took some hard steps for the community,” she said. “They stepped forward and helped us, showing that in a deep dark time, there are some good things going on.”

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.

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