August 28, 2008

Dougherty Valley Welcomes Gale Ranch Middle School

By Eric Louie

SAN RAMON -- The Dougherty Valley on Wednesday celebrated the new Gale Ranch Middle School, which will open for the first time when the new school year begins next week.

It is the last of seven schools planned for the developing area east of San Ramon. The San Ramon Valley school district's 2008-09 school year begins Monday.

The school, at 6400 Main Branch Road, off Bollinger Canyon Road, has a 900-student capacity. About 400 sixth- and seventh-graders will attend school there this fall. Eighth-grade classes will be added the following school year, district spokesman Terry Koehne said.

The 103,531-square-foot school, which sits on a 15.7-acre site, was built by home developer Shapell Homes. According to the district, the company agreed to build the school itself rather than pay construction fees to the district to cover the development's effect on local schools.

The final price tag on the school was about $40 million. It is the third school built in the area by Shapell Homes, which also built two elementary schools.

The area's other developers, a partnership of Brookfield Homes, Centex Homes and Lennar Homes known as Windemere BLC, also built two elementary schools and a middle school in lieu of fees.

Shapell and Windemere provided the money for Dougherty Valley High, which opened this past year.

Lisa Ward is the new school's principal. She served as principal at Los Cerros Middle School in Danville for the past five years.

Also new to the district this year is Superintendent Steven Enoch, who previously was superintendent of the San Juan Unified School District. He replaced Rob Kessler, who retired at the end of the past school year after 13 years as superintendent.

Reach Eric Louie at 925-847-2123 or [email protected]

Originally published by Eric Louie , San Ramon Valley Times.

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