School renovation debuts at back-to-school night

RANCHO SANTA FE — “Beautiful” was the word most used by people upon seeing the new R. Roger Rowe School in Rancho Santa Fe during its first back-to-school night for the parents of seventh- and eighth-graders.
The Sept. 16 event was the opportunity for about 250 parents and grandparents to see the school and meet the staff.
They gathered in the courtyard in front of the school’s Performing Arts Center where they were given schedules of their child’s classes. They were then taken on a school tour led by either Superintendent Lindy Delaney or Assistant Superintendent Cindy Schaub.
Next they entered the Performing Arts Center for a welcome speech from Delaney before they were sent off to the classrooms where their children would be matriculating.
The new $37 million, state-of-the-art school opened to students Sept. 7. It took just under 10 years of planning and passing a bond measure to rebuild the school that was built on the same site as the original more than 50 years ago on La Granada and El Fuego. It serves about 800 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Construction began in June 2009. Many of the students were meeting in portable classrooms on the site of the new school during the construction. Enduring the construction was worth the wait according to parents.
“It’s a long-awaited improvement to the community,” Missy Cameron said.
Sue Bulicek said the new school is a perfect gateway to the village of Rancho Santa Fe.
“You see this and then you see the town,” Bulicek said. “It’s a treasure.”
Hank Mendez, head custodian and setup manager, said that so far all has gone well with moving into the new school.
Although there have been a few little bugs, they are only minor ones.
“It’s going quickly and smoothly,” he said.
Michelle Hansen and Linda Atwell were busily setting out spirit wear on a table to sell to the parents during the event.
“The new school is great,” Hansen said. “It’s a beautiful facility and the teachers are all rock stars.”
Dorrie Hawkes and Sandi Lubenow, assistant to the superintendent, manned the check-in table where they answered questions and handed out schedules to the parents.
Waiting for the tour to begin, the parents were just taking it all in from the tiled water fountains to the gorgeous clock tower.
Becky Mezzino said she had been getting positive reports from her son about his new school.
“My son just loves the school,” Min Kim said.
“We love it,” Sophia Alsadek said. “It’s the most beautiful school ever.”
“It fits into the area perfectly,” Joan Masek said. “It looks like it has been here forever.”
Back-to-school nights for the other grades took place earlier in the week.