Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 1:26 am | Partly Cloudy 61º


Santa Barbara City College Opens Its Doors to Montecito Union Elementary School Students

Montecito Union School will hold classes in SBCC portable classrooms while its own campus is inaccessible due to flooding clean-up and recovery efforts

Santa Barbara City College has opened its doors to displaced Montecito Union School elementary students.

The 415 K-6 students will attend school in portable classrooms on SBCC's East Campus beginning Thursday, said MUS Superintendent Anthony Ranii.

The school also plans to share resources with McKinley Elementary School, which is across the street from SBCC, Ranii said. 

Although Montecito Union School was not physically damaged by the mudslides and flooding, it is within the mandatory evacuation zone and there is a boil-water notice for Montecito areas that have water service.

Classes have been canceled since Jan. 9, and authorities have said the evacuation zone -- and lack of access for the school -- could last a couple weeks.

SBCC will host Montecito Union students on campus in the meantime. 

“SBCC has been incredibly generous,” Ranii said. “Everything we have asked for, they bent over backwards to say ‘yes.’ SBCC has been a huge benefit to the community throughout the Thomas Fire and throughout the floods.”

The children will start classes at SBCC on Thursday, after field trips to the Santa Barbara Zoo and MOXI.

Tuesday and Wednesday “will allow us to get our SBCC space ready for our students,” Ranii said.

“We are very indebted to Dr. (Anthony) Beebe, president of SBCC,” he said. “They are giving us the exclusive use of some of their classroom facilities.”

Ranii said Montecito Union plans to bring in their own portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations so the children and the adults on campus don’t share the same bathroom, may bring a food truck on campus to feed students at lunchtime, and is working on getting additional temporary classrooms on the campus. 

Montecito Union students and their families who evacuated south, and are on the other side of the Highway 101 closure, have been welcomed by the Carpinteria Unified School District, Ranii said. 

SBCC delayed the start of its own spring semester by a week, to Jan. 22, because of the ongoing Highway 101 closure.  

Once SBCC classes start, Montecito Union staff will park off-site and shuttle into classes, and students will be dropped off at the East Campus turnaround, Ranii said. 

It is unclear how long the students will attend classes on the City College campus; It could be a couple weeks or until access to MUS is restored, Ranii said.

SBCC spokeswoman Luz Reyes-Martín said that City College is opening a new classroom building on West Campus this spring, which will free up unoccupied portable classrooms on the East Campus. 

“In addition, our staff worked hard to move other SBCC classes to free up other classrooms so that all MUS classrooms can be located together on our East Campus,” Reyes-Martin said. 

“Parking at SBCC is greatly impacted. Therefore, we will only be able to provide parking for key staff with MUS. However, MUS has assured us they will be arranging for alternate parking for their staff. We are working together with MUS to develop a pickup/drop-off area for parents.”

Reyes-Martin said that when the college learned that MUS was looking for an alternate site, “our whole SBCC team immediately said 'yes' to doing whatever it took to make it work. We are proud to open our doors to the entire Montecito Union School community.”

The American Red Cross was operating an evacuation shelter at SBCC until Monday, when it moved to San Marcos High School. SBCC also opened its Campus Center to give out-of-the-area firefighters and first responders a place to sleep after their shifts. 

“City College is proud to be part of this community, it is in times of adversity when we must come together and support one another,” Reyes-Martin said.

“We are so grateful for the heroic efforts of our first responders and emergency management staff. SBCC is prepared to continue to provide any assistance we can. We are thrilled to be able to have MUS on our campus. We are this community's college and we are here to help.” 

Carpinteria Unified School District, which is also hosting some Montecito-area students, will be resuming classes Tuesday after a long school closure due to flooding and the Highway 101 closure. 

There would be no school bus transportation available, according to the district Monday.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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