SAN DIEGO (CNS) - After decades of delays, Jonas Salk Elementary School in Mira Mesa will open its doors to students for the first time Tuesday morning as the San Diego Unified School District begins its new academic year.
The $24 million school is named after Dr. Jonas Salk, who invented the first successful polio vaccine and later founded the Salk Institute in La Jolla.
Plans for the 7.6-acre school were first developed in the 1980s as other campuses in Mira Mesa grew beyond capacity, but construction was held up for decades by environmental concerns.
The main issue was vernal pools -- seasonal pools that are habitats for the endangered San Diego fairy shrimp and other fragile creatures -- on the Flanders Drive site, and how to compensate for the loss of the pools.
The board and San Diego City Council entered into an agreement in 2013 that paved the way for construction. The deal in part called for the district to restore and enhance the Carroll Canyon Vernal Pool Preserve and to monitor vernal pools at McAuliffe Community Park to ensure the fairy shrimps' conservation.
The 24-classroom school can accommodate around 700 kindergarten-through-fifth-grade students. Its namesake's son, Dr. Peter Salk, will be on hand for the school opening, along with district trustee John Lee Evans and Superintendent Cindy Marten.
Around 110,000 students are starting the new school year throughout the district today, not including charter schools, according to the SDUSD.
Also set to begin classes Tuesday are 27,000 adult students in the San Diego Community College District's continuing education program. Certificate programs are offered in automotive technology, child development, culinary arts, professional bakeshop skills, nursing assistant training and plumbing -- online or at six campuses around the city.