San Pasqual Academy Homes, Buildings Rise from Ashes

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October 31, 2011 | 2:28pm

When the 2007 Witch Creek Fire blazed a wide swath of destruction in San Diego County, San Pasqual Academy (SPA) unfortunately did not escape damage.

The largest of the 2007 wildfires forced the evacuation of foster students, staff and adult volunteers who called the school home.  When they returned, 29 structures on the campus were destroyed.

Today, SPA celebrates the completion of a major rebuilding project with the opening of 17 buildings containing 30 residential units and a new administration building for school staff.

“This is the culmination of a lot of thoughtful planning and design,” said Ron Roberts, Vice-Chairman, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “We didn’t just rebuild the housing and administration building, we rebuilt them with the future in mind.

“There is drought-tolerant landscaping, brush management zones, enhanced flood control measures, improved access for fire equipment and we are pursuing LEED Silver certification for the administration building.”

The housing units are for SPA alumni, transitional age foster youth, and the participants of the SPA Neighbors program, which is made up of volunteer seniors and staff who reside on campus.

“These housing units are an important part of the community here at San Pasqual Academy,” said Greg Cox, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Many of these foster youth have no home to go to when they are on break from college or in transition and they feel comfortable here on campus.

“The grandparents who volunteer their time with the youth are such an integral part of what makes the Academy unique. The new housing allows them to live comfortably on campus while continuing their mentoring and friendship with the students.”

The ability to help our foster youth be safe, healthy and thrive in life is the cornerstone of the County’s ”Live Well, San Diego!” initiative. SPA is a first-in-the-nation residential education campus designed specifically for foster youth. It’s located in Escondido and provides foster youth with a stable, caring home, quality individualized education, and the skills needed for independent living. It opened in October 2001 and currently serves 130 foster youth ages 12 to 18 who attend high school on campus.