IUSD to break ground on a permanent home for Portola Springs Elementary School


Recently, we posted this video tour of the new Cypress Village Elementary School. But Cypress Village isn’t the only new school opening in Irvine.

Portola Springs Elementary School will also welcome its first batch of students on Tuesday, Sept. 2, but it will do so from an interim site, occupying the previously shuttered Westwood Basics Plus School for one year while a permanent state-of-the-art facility is built.

PortolaSpringslogoTo mark the start of Portola Spring’s construction, district officials and local dignitaries are planning to gather for a special groundbreaking ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 25, and you’re invited. The event is open to the public and will naturally be staged at the site of the new campus at 12100 Portola Springs in Irvine.

Guests are encouraged to carpool and park along Long Grass Street. For safety purposes, they’re also encouraged to wear flat, closed-toe shoes.

The new Portola Springs campus is projected to open a year from now, in August 2016. In the meantime, Principal Heather Phillips and her staff have been busy prepping their temporary home, where they recently held a tour for incoming students and their families.

Westwood Basics Plus, located at 1 Liberty, closed back in 2009 as students and staff transitioned to a newer campus in Irvine’s Stonegate village. In recent years, the facility has housed district programs and served as a training center for staff.

Transforming Westwood back into a functioning elementary school required a lot of work, but Phillips sees some advantages to building a school community prior to populating a new campus.

“I was really excited about having the opportunity to be at the interim site,” Phillips said. “I think it really gives us the option and the gift of time in that we can focus on building a community with our students, our parents and our staff. Because we’re not focused so much on the facility, but rather the relationship part. If we build that strong foundation, when we move to the new facility, that will just be the icing on top of the cake.”