GUADALUPE, Calif. - A dream more than 20 years in the making in Guadalupe is drawing closer to reality.
Guadalupe Union School District (GUSD) is nearing an agreement to officially acquire the land where a proposed new junior high school will be built.
"This agreement has been going on about 21 years old right now," said GUSD superintendent Ed Cora. "It will allow the district to take ownership of that property to build a new junior high school within the next six years."
The 12.5 acre property sits on the southeastern portion of the new Pasadera community.
The massive new housing and commercial development opened its first phase last year.
Once completed, it will feature hundreds of new homes, commercial businesses and a park.
The new school will accommodate about 300 students, which will help alleviate full classrooms at the district's two other schools.
"We currently have every single classroom being used, and as these homes continue to get built, we'll continue to get more students entering our schools," Cora said.
Cora added about 600 new students are expected within the district by the time Pasadera is complete.
When the unnamed school opens its doors, it will be part of a major reconfiguration within the GUSD campuses.
"So you'll have a primary school, an intermediate school and a junior high school here in Guadalupe," said Cora, noting that Mary Buren Elementary will include students from pre-school to 3rd grade, while Kermit McKenzie Junior High School will become an intermediate school with students from 4th through 6th grades and the new junior high school will include 7th and 8th graders.
Among the future students at the new school is the young daughter of Sylvia Adame.
"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it," Adame said. "As a Guadalupe resident, we've been hearing the new school is coming soon, but now it's so real."
The Guadalupe native attended both local schools while growing up. She said she's especially happy to hear the new school will include a much-needed gymnasium.
"The kids are looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to it as a parent and I'm excited to see Guadalupe grow," Adame said. "Guadalupe needs more things for our youth to be able to do."
With the gymnasium as its centerpiece, Cora said the new development will be beneficial to the entire community.
"There's going to a joint-use park with the City of Guadalupe that the residents can use," said Cora. "The plan is make an outdoor stage as part of the gym, so if the school is closed on weekends, they can use the outdoor stage and the park, have music and dancing."
Projected cost is in the neighborhood of $18 million, which will be paid through bond and state money.
Cora said construction would begin once 279 homes are built in the Pasadera community, or within four years, whichever comes first.
Cora was expected to sign an acquisition agreement with the developer on Wednesday. However, an unexpected delay came up, pushing the agreement back a few days.
The new school is expected to open sometime between four to six years.