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SIMI VALLEY : Elementary School Expansion OKd

Supporters of a private elementary school, including many parents toting their small children, turned up at a Simi Valley City Council meeting this week to plead with officials to allow an expansion at the school.

Their efforts paid off as the council unanimously agreed to allow Phoenix Ranch School to add a swimming pool, three modular classroom units, a library and a circular driveway.

The expansion plans had been held up over traffic concerns voiced by some neighbors along Oak Road, where the 177-student school is located. Expanding to 287 students could cause traffic jams and other hazards along the narrow private road, they said.

Council members Barbara Williamson and Paul Miller had filed an appeal of the planning commission’s decision to allow the expansion last month, saying they felt it necessary to determine the future status of Oak Road while negotiating the expansion. Options included making the street public.

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The decision Monday night, which requires final approval at next week’s meeting, calls for Oak Road to remain private, with the school taking responsibility for widening it from 20 feet to 25 feet.

School owner and administrator Frances Alascano said she was pleased with the decision, although widening, patching and repairing the road won’t be cheap.

“I’m estimating about $100,000,” she said. “We’re at the breaking point right now.”

The cost of the rest of the expansion is about $300,000, she said.

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