OXNARD, Calif. - An elementary school in Oxnard opened its doors to students for the first time on Tuesday. Rio Del Sol became the 9th school in the district, but its grand opening also came with a few setbacks.
Rio Del Sol is located in the RiverPark neighborhood near The Collection in Oxnard, but the Kindergarten through 6th-grade elementary school is not fully completed as planned.
“Our hope was that we would be open with the understanding that construction is construction, but then we had those natural disasters with the fires and then the mudslides that interfered with everything,” said Ralph Cordova, who is the principal at Rio Del Sol. “That threw back work at the site. It was disappointing, but we knew it was a possibility.”
The construction setbacks mean half of the students are not on campus yet. Transitional Kindergarten through 3rd grade is currently enjoying the new campus, while other grades are at other schools in the district.
“Right now our 6th, 5th, and 4th graders who are already enrolled, they are now at satellite campuses,” said John Puglisi, the Rio school district superintendent. “The 4th and 5th graders will come back very soon, probably in about a month, and the 6th graders will come back when the big double-decker building is complete probably by winter of next year.”
Rio Del Sol is a STEM school meaning the focus is science, technology, engineering, and math.
“We sit right on the Santa Clara River, so right behind us is the Santa Clara River and we really designed this school to use the river and the river system as a big chunk of the content of what we are learning,” said John Puglisi.
And this elementary school could grow even bigger by next year.
“We also have a measure 'L' on the November 11 election and if that passes, then right behind us building C, which is the final phase of the school, that will add a whole other double-decker building that will allow the school to grow from about 600-800 students,” said Puglisi.