After several decades of planning, Coastal Christian School will be able to relocate to a new campus in Pismo Beach in fall 2014.
Plans for the new school campus, located on the west side of Oak Park Boulevard between James Way and Noyes Road, include classrooms, new labs and art rooms, a library and a play field.
School administrators plan to install modular units of various shapes and sizes that will serve the private school’s current population of nearly 200 students and allow it to expand to about 250 students, said Principal Bob McLaughlin.
Doing so will cost a little more than $2 million, and the school plans to pay for half with cash and pledges from donors, and the other half with short-term loans, he said. The school has raised about 80 percent of its $1 million goal so far.
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The school board had initially hoped to build a permanent campus in eight phases, with the first phase estimated to cost $6.5 million.
“The eventual goal is to phase permanent construction but I think they had early on overestimated their ability to raise large amounts of money,” McLaughlin said. “So we’re going to have to nibble at it over time rather than take it in one big mouthful or eight.”
When fully built-out, the campus could serve around 500 students, he said.
The new campus will give teachers and students more space and split the library and computer lab, which is currently combined.
“The teachers are excited to get into real usable spaces where they can display children’s work and have space for learning centers,” McLaughlin said. “It’s fun to be part of a true blessing, and I enjoy watching it happen.”
The K-12 school received the more than 27-acre property as a donation in 1977, but hasn't been able to develop for various reasons.
One complication came a few years ago, when the school was included in plans for a residential development called Los Robles del Mar. That project stalled in January 2008 when the countywide Local Agency Formation Commission — which decides city annexations — determined an underground aquifer would not provide enough water for the development, and wouldn’t permit the land to be annexed into Pismo Beach.
Coastal Christian then decided to put its own application through the county. In December 2010, the county Board of Supervisors approved the use of an on-site well to supply the school’s water. The following month, county planning commissioners approved the school’s development plans for the site.
The school currently occupies a leased church building and modular units used as classrooms on Farroll Road in Arroyo Grande.
For more information about Coastal Christian School and its fundraising efforts, call 489-1213 or visit www.coastalchristianschool.com/oakpark.html.