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Nestor high school to fit in industrial zone

“We have learned to make do with what’s allotted.”

All kinds of trucks use the streets surrounding 1275 30th Street in Nestor.
All kinds of trucks use the streets surrounding 1275 30th Street in Nestor.

An Otay-Nestor area full of shipping warehouses, dialysis facilities, storage facilities, and a few manufacturing companies may soon get a charter school for a neighbor.

Aerial view of 1275 30th Street

The Stephen W. Hawking 2 charter school, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math and now has about 400 students from kindergarten to eighth grade, is planning to move into the office building on the corner of Del Sol Blvd and 30th Street. The school is currently a few blocks away at 27th and Iris on the Southwest Middle School campus. The original school remains in Chula Vista.

The area the school is looking at is a crazy mix of zoning. A few blocks north, single-family homes sit near apartment buildings, auto shops, and a Jack in the Box. The street ends about two-tenths of a mile south at the Beyer Boulevard Transit Station just north of the 905 expressway. Near the proposed new location for the school, the street is packed with all manner of box trucks and transport vans, interspersed with RVs and semi-trailers.

The principal, Lorena Chavez, and the school’s land-use consultant, Steve Laub, have been presenting plans to the Otay Nestor Planning Group, which largely supports the project. Chavez said the school expects the student population to more than double to 850 students in 38 classrooms.

People were concerned with placing a school — with its traffic problems — in the midst of an industrial area.

“There’s a welding shop across the street and there’s another welding shop right next door,” said Johnny Swanson, an organizer with the Iron Workers Local 229. “There’s another shop called Palacios Custom Iron Works. There’s also a tremendous amount of trucks going through. The traffic is heavy and it’s industrial.”

“We believe we will not have people backing up on Del Sol,” Laub said.

The building is surrounded by an asphalt parking lot, and the school plans to have a staff-policed after-school pick-up plan where cars enter at the west side and come through the back to the east side where kids will be picked up.

“We just need to rearrange the staff so we’re all on the same page with this very strict pick-up plan,” Chavez said. “We have signs and a lot of cones out there so the parents know exactly where to go. We’ve done it before and we know how.”

The school staggers arrival time for students so there isn’t much of a morning rush, she said.

The building is currently home to the San Ysidro Community Health Center’s administration. There doesn’t appear to be room for a playground. Asked where kids will play, the principal said there will be space inside.

“We have learned to make do with what’s allotted,” Chavez said. “We can get creative in our own space.”

The school staggers arrival time for students so there isn’t much of a morning rush, she said.

“That’s a main artery for buses — not just one bus route — they all go there,” said Gabe Uribe. “You have the medical transportation company right there, there’s all the mail trucks and the industrial businesses. Now you’re going to add a school and get a lot more students and a lot more traffic.”

The plan now goes to a planning group subcommittee for detailed review and recommendations.

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All kinds of trucks use the streets surrounding 1275 30th Street in Nestor.
All kinds of trucks use the streets surrounding 1275 30th Street in Nestor.

An Otay-Nestor area full of shipping warehouses, dialysis facilities, storage facilities, and a few manufacturing companies may soon get a charter school for a neighbor.

Aerial view of 1275 30th Street

The Stephen W. Hawking 2 charter school, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math and now has about 400 students from kindergarten to eighth grade, is planning to move into the office building on the corner of Del Sol Blvd and 30th Street. The school is currently a few blocks away at 27th and Iris on the Southwest Middle School campus. The original school remains in Chula Vista.

The area the school is looking at is a crazy mix of zoning. A few blocks north, single-family homes sit near apartment buildings, auto shops, and a Jack in the Box. The street ends about two-tenths of a mile south at the Beyer Boulevard Transit Station just north of the 905 expressway. Near the proposed new location for the school, the street is packed with all manner of box trucks and transport vans, interspersed with RVs and semi-trailers.

The principal, Lorena Chavez, and the school’s land-use consultant, Steve Laub, have been presenting plans to the Otay Nestor Planning Group, which largely supports the project. Chavez said the school expects the student population to more than double to 850 students in 38 classrooms.

People were concerned with placing a school — with its traffic problems — in the midst of an industrial area.

“There’s a welding shop across the street and there’s another welding shop right next door,” said Johnny Swanson, an organizer with the Iron Workers Local 229. “There’s another shop called Palacios Custom Iron Works. There’s also a tremendous amount of trucks going through. The traffic is heavy and it’s industrial.”

“We believe we will not have people backing up on Del Sol,” Laub said.

The building is surrounded by an asphalt parking lot, and the school plans to have a staff-policed after-school pick-up plan where cars enter at the west side and come through the back to the east side where kids will be picked up.

“We just need to rearrange the staff so we’re all on the same page with this very strict pick-up plan,” Chavez said. “We have signs and a lot of cones out there so the parents know exactly where to go. We’ve done it before and we know how.”

The school staggers arrival time for students so there isn’t much of a morning rush, she said.

The building is currently home to the San Ysidro Community Health Center’s administration. There doesn’t appear to be room for a playground. Asked where kids will play, the principal said there will be space inside.

“We have learned to make do with what’s allotted,” Chavez said. “We can get creative in our own space.”

The school staggers arrival time for students so there isn’t much of a morning rush, she said.

“That’s a main artery for buses — not just one bus route — they all go there,” said Gabe Uribe. “You have the medical transportation company right there, there’s all the mail trucks and the industrial businesses. Now you’re going to add a school and get a lot more students and a lot more traffic.”

The plan now goes to a planning group subcommittee for detailed review and recommendations.

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