District officials, local dignitaries break ground on Irvine’s next elementary school

It’s a whole lot of dirt now, but over the next 15 months this empty plot of land south of Jeffrey Road and east of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway will be transformed into a state-of-the-art campus for Irvine elementary students.

IUSD officials staged a groundbreaking ceremony here for Cypress Village Elementary School on Wednesday morning, marking the occasion with a modest reception that featured remarks by Board of Education President Dr. Gavin Huntley-Fenner and Superintendent Terry Walker.

A number of other local dignitaries were also in attendance, including school board members Paul Bokota, Lauren Brooks and Sharon Wallin; Irvine Mayor Steven Choi and City Manager Sean Joyce; Irvine Company Senior Vice President Mike LeBlanc and Vice President of Community Affairs Robin Leftwich; Irvine Public Schools Foundation President Neda Eaton; and IUSD assistant superintendents Cassie Parham and John Fogarty. Each picked up a shovel to dig a little earth, embracing a ritual that has long signaled the start of construction.

We were there too, of course, to document this latest historic moment for the Irvine Unified School District — and because we heard there might be refreshments. You can check out our brief video above.

Set to open in September 2014, Cypress Village Elementary was officially named back in March by the Board of Education. The campus will be located at 355 Rush Lily in an area of new development previously known as Planning Area 40. Expect to hear more in the months ahead.