OAKLEY -- More than six years after it was built, a school here finally will be open for business.

Oakley's Almond Grove Elementary School will have several hundred students roaming its campus later this month for the first time since construction of the $16 million campus ended in December 2007.

The Amaryllis Street school will accommodate an estimated 300 children from transitional kindergarten to the fifth grade when classes start July 28.

While Principal Christina Edwards worked on the presentation she'll be giving to teachers when they report for work next week, grounds maintenance crews tidied up the lawns, other employees set up computers, updated class rosters and checked classrooms to make sure they all had enough furniture.

Nearby, city workers painted crosswalks on some of the surrounding streets.

By the time that Oakley Union Elementary School District had completed its eighth school, construction in the neighboring Magnolia Park subdivision had slowed to the point that officials decided there weren't enough students coming from that area to warrant opening the facility.

For the past 6½ years many children living within Almond Grove Elementary's attendance boundaries have been going to Gehringer and Laurel schools instead.

The district meanwhile leased portions of Almond Grove to a church for nearly three years as well as to a nonprofit that serves youngsters with developmental delays.


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But as the housing market slowly recovered, school board trustees last year voted to open the school in 2014-15.

Children in transitional kindergarten through the third grade without older siblings have been assigned to Almond Grove, although parents can ask for an intradistrict transfer to keep them at their current school as long as there's still space.

Students in grades 4 and 5 have been assured that they and younger siblings they might have can stay at whatever school they've been attending.

Nonetheless, the district estimates that Almond Grove will open with five dozen kids in the upper grades.

To ease the transition to a new campus, the school will offer a chance on Friday for parents to tour the grounds with their child, who also will be able to meet his or her teacher and other classmates, Edwards said.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her on Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.

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