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Charter school slated for Citrus Heights changes course for mystery site

File photo, a vacant lot at the corner of Antelope and Old Auburn Road was formerly slated to become a charter school. // M. Hazlip

By Sara Beth Williams–
Plans to construct a new charter school on a vacant lot off Antelope Road in Citrus Heights have shifted.

American River Collegiate Academy had made plans to construct a new campus on the 3-acre lot, but according to a weekly newsletter published on the academy’s website on Dec. 22, 2022, the academy is no longer seeking to purchase the land at the corner of Antelope Road and Old Auburn Road.

From 2021: Plans for new charter school campus approved by Citrus Heights Planning Commission

In September 2021, the City of Citrus Heights Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the project for the new school site at 7951 Antelope Rd. for American River Collegiate Academy. The plans included building a two-story building with 22 classrooms and administrative spaces, and a multi-purpose room.

According to statements from American River Collegiate Academy parent Lisa Kalavaras, the academy’s board announced during a December parents’ meeting that the site on Antelope Road with access on Wonder Street was “off the table.”

The initial goal was to open the new campus in the fall of 2022, in time for the 2022-23 school year. When Sentinel staff spoke with Superintendent of the Rocklin Academy Family of Schools Robin Stout in August 2022, no construction had begun and fencing remained around the lot. Stout cited multiple obstacles that accounted for a delay in construction, including the increased cost of construction materials, and a significant drop in enrollment during the pandemic.

Stout said the Rocklin Academy board had planned to meet in December 2022 with Foundation Christian Church, formerly Antelope Road Christian Fellowship, who owns the property, to revisit plans for purchasing the land and construction.

Kalavaras said during the December parents meeting, the board informed parents that the academy did not have enough enrollment to support a new build at this time.

The newsletter outlined the expected enrollment estimates for years one (2020-21), two (2021-22) and three, (2022-23), comparing them with actual total enrollment. The initial projection for enrollment for year three was 300 students, and according to the newsletter, only 80 students are enrolled in this 2022-23 school year.

“The location they are looking at now is an existing building that would need renovations,” Kalavaras said, adding that the board plans to update parents in January or February.

According to a slide show presentation available on Rocklin Academy’s website, the school is “committed to our students and to the City of Citrus Heights,” with multiple scenarios being looked at for a “long-term facility, in Citrus Heights.”

The American River Collegiate Academy is currently using temporary classroom facilities at 7755 Hazel Ave., in Orangevale. The charter school serves grades TK through 3rd grade and plans to add one higher grade per year.

Multiple calls to Foundation Christian Church, Stout, and the American River Collegiate Academy campus in Orangevale were not returned before press time.

The publicly funded charter school is part of the Rocklin Academy Family of Schools, which includes Rocklin Academy, Rocklin Academy Gateway, Rocklin Academy Preschool, and Western Sierra Collegiate Academy.

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