The school had been closed for over a decade, but earlier this month the gates at Bouquet Canyon Elementary School reopened to accept children and teachers for classroom learning once again.
However, although bearing the name of “Bouquet Canyon” since the 1980s, it has a new purpose and students are attending a school with a different name: Rosedell Elementary North.
The little school campus tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac at 28110 North Wellston Drive had previously closed on June 30, 2010, after 30 years of operations, because of massive budget cuts. The closure saved the district an estimated $600,000 a year.
But now that there is ongoing construction on Rosedell’s campus, which is located a few blocks away, the approximately 10-acre school site has been reopened to accommodate the Rosedell fifth- and sixth-grade classes — with plans to use the refurbished campus more in the future.
Rosedell Elementary Principal Robin Payre said when they reopened the campus, it was remarkable how many people had attended or had been employed at the school, from some of the plumbers who came to work on the campus piping to at least one of the teachers now on campus.
“We’re using a property that had been abandoned, and it’s nice for them to see that it’s back up and running,” said Payre, when asked why neighbors should be interested in the reopening. “And there’s that nostalgia that they have about their school.”
“A local favorite that is reborn,” added Edwin Clement, assistant superintendent of educational services for the Saugus Union School District.
Clement and Payre both showed off the school Friday, from the new pavilion where the kids eat lunch, to the exterior and interior finishes, to even the color and freshness of the paint on the classrooms.
“When I first got to the district (last summer) these buildings were brown and they hadn’t been touched up for a while,” said Clement, pointing at the campus that now reflects a rainbow color scheme on doors and other trimmings. “So, we’ve been going through everything.”
Still to be completed at the campus are a few upgrades to the school perimeter, finishing up some grass seeding on the big field up top, as well as making sure a ramp and a few other apparatuses around the campus are up to code.
The change inside the classrooms is even more dramatic, with the campus having been held in a virtual standstill for the last 11 years. Touchscreen TV monitors, new white boards, carpeting, plumbing, electricity and all the other trappings of a modern classroom are found on the Rosedell North campus, Payre said.
In total the repairs cost roughly $1 million, but the refurbishments will not go to waste, Payre said, after the future 5th and 6th grade classes return to Rosedell in a handful of years.
“There are other schools that are being renovated and so we will be using this area for those students to come as they go through renovation,” said Payre. “But the ultimate goal is to turn it into an early childhood center.”
Payre said that the early childhood center would entail services for the community for 3- and 4-year-olds. However, until then, district staff are hoping the current group of students desire to make the campus “their own.”
“That is exactly the feeling that we’re trying to give them: This is your school,” said Payre. “There’s very few kids that are going to be going through this school and you are the first ones to use it after this amount of time. It’s about really getting them to know and respect that — this is theirs and we need to take care of it.”