SAN RAMON -- To the relief of Dougherty Valley families with young children, a solution to the overcrowding problem in the area's elementary schools is well on its way, district officials say.

Site preparation for a new Dougherty Valley elementary school began last week, after the San Ramon Valley Unified School District School Board voted recently to approve a site-transfer and site-preparation agreement with Shapell Industries, a residential developer of the area that is donating a nearly 8-acre site about a half-mile southwest of Dougherty Station Community Center for the new school.

After rough grading of the site is done and environmental assessments in place, the school's construction could begin after May 1, district officials hope. Construction could be done by August 2015, said district spokesman Terry Koehne.

Designed by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, the planned school will be built to accommodate 830 kindergarten through fifth-grade students. It will feature two two-story classroom buildings, a comprehensive multiuse building and a large playing field for soccer and softball.

The three-way agreement among the city of San Ramon, the school district and Shapell also gives the city the right to use the planned playing fields after school hours, Koehne said.

Under the agreement, Shapell will not only donate the land but also provide some of the site preparation work. In turn, the district will pay all the costs associated with actual construction -- close to $30 million, which was approved by voters in November 2012 through a bond measure, Measure D.

"It's exciting because we've got capacity issues in that part of the community, and we think that this will alleviate that tremendously," Koehne said.

The new school will fill "a huge need in the Dougherty Valley," since all four of the elementary schools in Dougherty Valley -- Quail Run, Coyote Creek, Hidden Hills and Live Oak schools -- have more than 1,000 students, he said.

"We're just excited to get started on construction," he said, adding that in the next couple of months, the district also plans to start the process of finding a name for the new school, most likely through an online process.

Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/JoyceTsaiNews.

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