School and Community Leaders Celebrate Groundbreaking for New School

Cheered by community leaders, the Board of Education recently tossed the ceremonial first spades of dirt that signaled the start of construction on the 46th campus in the District.

Saburo Muraoka Elementary will be located at 1644 Santa Alexia Ave., near Santa Victoria Avenue. It will cost about $48 million, including the purchase of 10.3 acres. An eye-catching two-story structure will contain 36 classrooms, and a multi-purpose room.

The Board of Education recently named the campus after Muraoka (M-UU-R-AA-O-KUH), who was part of the fabric of early Chula Vista. Muraoka immigrated here in 1915, built a thriving agriculture business, then lost it all following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. After the war, he returned to Chula Vista, rebuilt his life, his business—and community. Muraoka died in 1983.

“I am very proud of the decision of our Board to name this school after Saburo Muraoka,” said Board President Eduardo Reyes, Ed.D. “It is long overdue. It reflects the diversity of our region, and also honors local history.”

Muraoka’s accomplishments were included in a biography that was part of a series on local figures titled, “They Made Chula Vista History.” The five booklets were developed by the Altrusa Club of Chula Vista, in cooperation with the District and Chula Vista Library–part of the District’s third grade curriculum on local history.

The school is one of 11 campuses projected to be built in eastern Chula Vista over the next 15 years.

“We are growing again. For all the growth, we still remain a community of family,” Dr. Reyes said. “It is my honor to acknowledge the Muraoka family, who gathered here with other community members who embrace and support Mr. Muraoka’s vision of peace. That spirit of peace and friendship will live on in the generations of students who will come through this school.”

Members of the Muraoka family still call Chula Vista home. Several generations of the Muraoka family were present at the groundbreaking, as well as when the Board made the decision to name the newest campus Saburo Muraoka Elementary. It is believed to be the first school in San Diego County to be named after a Japanese American.

Superintendent Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D. noted that the school’s features will fit with its namesake.

“The school’s design and learning environment will mirror the innovative spirit of Saburo Muraoka,” Dr. Escobedo said. “He was known to be an innovator in growing celery and cucumbers, developing unique grafting and farming techniques. Similarly, this school’s design will promote critical-thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication for our students.”

The school is scheduled to open in July 2017.



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