Moving forward with plans to build an elementary school at Playa Vista, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) officials say they are working to make a final decision on the site for the school.

At a meeting to discuss the site selection for the planned elementary school Thursday, March 1st, district officials said the developer would need to mitigate methane gas underneath the property at the site that is chosen.

The school district is currently considering a four-acre parcel that Playa Vista would provide adjacent to the Sports Park and south of Bluff Creek Drive.

“They have to deliver us clean land,” said board of education president Marlene Canter, who represents the Playa Vista area on the board.

The board of education approved the Playa Vista elementary school project in concept in November and school district officials said they expect to make a final selection of the site by the end of the year.

“We’re looking at it as an exciting project but now we’re just in the process part of it,” Canter said.

The new K-5 (kindergarten through fifth grade) school is planned for the “last phase” of Playa Vista, Canter said.

The proposed 52,000-square-foot school will accommodate 650 students and house 26 classrooms.

The school district plans to spend $32 million to construct the new school, which will be funded by Measure Y, the Safe and Healthy Neighborhood Schools Repair and Construction Measure approved by voters in November 2005.

Construction of the school is not expected to begin until early 2010, with a completion date expected in 2012, district officials said.

Canter said the school could later be expanded to include grades six through eight and that it will provide an opportunity for the district to partner with nearby Loyola Marymount University (LMU) for a teacher-training center for science teachers.

“I think the opportunity for us to have teacher training with LMU is a new and innovative idea,” Canter said.

The new elementary school will also provide for the anticipated enrollment that will come from the Playa Vista community as it grows, Canter said.

Steve Sugerman, Playa Capital spokesman, said the proposed four-acre parcel south of Bluff Creek Drive is a “very good site” for the school because it is down the street from a library and next to a park.

“It’s a nice piece of property and it’s well protected,” Sugerman said.

Playa Vista officials are envisioning a joint-use agreement with the school district to allow students to use the park, Sugerman said.

“The residents of Playa Vista are extremely enthusiastic to have a school in the community,” he said.

“It was always part of the Playa Vista plan to have a school there.”