Summer Lake rendering

The planned opening of the Oakley Union Elementary School District's newest school, Summer Lake Elementary, has been delayed due to extended rain this spring. 

Summer Lake in Oakley has been waiting a long time to have its own elementary school, and due to the extended rains this spring, it will have to wait a little bit longer.

Originally scheduled to open next month for the 2019-20 school year, Summer Lake Elementary School will not be ready in time. The district came up with a plan to house Summer Lake’s students on the Iron House Elementary School campus until the new site is ready. That date is still undetermined.

“There’s been a lot of missed days of work due to rain, and we had some construction constraints and some issues that took place as well,” said Oakley Union Elementary School District superintendent Greg Hetrick.

As the scheduled opening day drew near, the district realized the school would not be ready to keep students safe and offer the necessary educational opportunities available at Oakley’s other schools. Hetrick said the decision to delay the school’s opening was unfortunate but necessary, adding that SLE will remain its own entity on Iron House’s campus.

“Summer Lake is going to be a school within a school at Iron House Elementary School,” Hetrick said. “That’s where the majority of the students have currently been attending, and so it’s going to be two schools on one campus with two principals, two office managers, with staff that’s assigned to the two different schools, but it’s all going to be taking place on the Iron House campus.”

The onsite Summer Lake school will have 313 students, and Iron House will have 502. Once the SLE school site is ready, students and staff will leave Iron House and move into their new classrooms. Erin Roberts will be the school’s principal and said this temporary situation will be a chance to get to know her new students in an environment where they already feel comfortable.

“The Iron House staff knows these kids really well and will help us understand what we can do to know the kids and give them what they need,” Roberts said.

Meeting all her new students and their families will be one of Roberts’ top priorities as the school year begins. She said she prides herself on knowing her students, teachers and staff well and will embrace the challenge of getting to know her SLE students on the Iron House campus.

Once SLE is ready to open, Roberts said there will be a big opening day to celebrate the new school. She looks forward to building from the ground up and starting new traditions at SLE.

“I realize that this is not the most ideal situation,” Hetrick said in a letter that went out to families earlier this month. “However, we are committed to working out all necessary details over the summer break to ensure that this delay in the opening of Summer Lake School is minimal, and the transition causes the least disruption as possible.”

For more information on the OUESD or its schools, call the district office at 925-625-0700.

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