BRENTWOOD -- Old River Elementary School finally will be full of children again by summer's end.

Declining enrollment forced the Knightsen School District to close the school in 2010 just two years after it opened.

The campus was unoccupied for a couple of years before a Tracy-based charter school set up a satellite campus there in September 2012, but most of its 19 classrooms remained empty until now.

The school district in late May signed a one-year lease with Lynn Center, a nonprofit that serves developmentally delayed youngsters ranging in age from 18 months to 5 years.

The center was scheduled to finish moving most of its children into seven classrooms by June 30.

Lynn Center had been operating from an elementary school campus in Oakley since August 2011, but that district needed to reclaim the space to accommodate its expanding student body.

Although the organization had been helping just over 100 children at Almond Grove Elementary School, the seven classrooms it will be using at Old River can only accommodate 68, said Executive Director Barbara Maizie.

The remaining youngsters will be reaching the age limits for participation this summer anyway, she said, noting that the center won't be refilling those slots.

Meanwhile, Lynn Center will continue looking for a permanent home because the district wants to keep its options open.


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"Growth is coming ... in the next few years, we'll probably need (to reclaim) Old River," Superintendent Theresa Estrada said.

Maizie said her organization needs a facility that's at least 10,000 square feet and in an area where the zoning allows preschools.

Old River School will have another new tenant arriving in August if the school board agrees at its July 23 meeting to lease the remaining four classrooms to an Antioch-based preschool.

Kids' Club Preschool, which accepts children ages 3 to 5, will have 150 openings, 100 of them earmarked for low-income families who would receive the child care at no cost.

The preschool would be the only one in Knightsen that accommodates needy parents.

The district plans to use the rental income from the three tenants -- roughly $75,000 -- to maintain Old River's playing fields, make minor repairs and cover improvements such as painting and installing carpet, Estrada said.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.

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