Dogwood Elementary Celebrates its Grand Opening

Imperial Valley Press
Friday, February 25, 2011

Dogwood Elementary third-graders sing Shakira's "Waka Waka" with their African-themed masks in hand during the Heber school's grand opening ceremony Friday. (ROMAN FLORES)
Dogwood Elementary third-graders sing Shakira's "Waka Waka" with their African-themed masks in hand during the Heber school's grand opening ceremony Friday. (ROMAN FLORES)

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HEBER — Songs, plaques, applause and roars were the sights and sounds of the grand opening of the new Dogwood Elementary here Friday.

Residents here flocked into the new kindergarten-through-third-grade school’s multipurpose room to see awards and certificates presented by county bigwigs, state representatives and others.

The new 15-acre school opened for classes Jan. 3 but, “We wanted to invite community members to come and celebrate with us and watch their children perform,” Dogwood Principal Dawn Ponce said.

“We had a very smooth transition over the holiday,” she said. “The students and staff just love being here. It’s a nice environment.”

The school facilities consist of 28 classrooms with four pods, Heber Elementary School District Superintendent Jaime Silva has said.

He said each pod consists of six classrooms with teacher workrooms between sets of three. The school also contains a multipurpose room, computer lab, library, outdoor activity areas and a parent-training center.

“These seven years I’ve been superintendent we’ve been talking about the new school but there wasn’t a major urgency to build a school,” he said.

Silva said Heber School started to run out of space due to district growth.

“Even with the portables we started bursting at the seams last year and this year,” he said. “We knew new homes were coming to Heber and we needed to be proactive in getting a new school.”

Since the construction contract for Dogwood Elementary was signed in October 2009, Silva said it took 14 months to get the site completed but it was well worth it.

“I truly feel that we hit the jackpot in terms of timing,” he said since construction costs have dipped in the last few years.

“This school — to become what it is now — is like a dream come true,” Martin Nolasco, Heber school board member, said.

“We’re very happy,” Silva said. “It’s like our little jewel.”

Staff Writer Roman Flores can be reached 760-337-3439 or rflores@ivpressonline.com

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