PALMDALE – Westside Union School District trustees approved an agreement with the developer of the Anaverde master-planned community for Antelope Valley’s first developer-built school. The agreement culminates more than three years of negotiations and will produce a permanent campus – hopefully in two years – for youngsters who are being bused six miles to a school leased from the Palmdale School District. “I feel really good about it. It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” said Sherry McPherson, principal of the 199-student Anaverde Hills School at the leased campus. “The idea of finally knowing that we are going ahead with a permanent site is very exciting.” The board adopted the agreement at Tuesday night’s meeting. Construction is scheduled to begin next year and the school is expected to be completed by August 2007. The agreement also calls for the Anaverde developer to pay for 27 percent of the cost of acquiring land and constructing a middle school in the nearby Ritter Ranch housing project, officials said. Rossall said the developer has agreed to pay for half of the cost of busing and the lease for the temporary school site, up to a maximum of $300,000, for two years. If the school is not completed by August 2007, then the 50-50 arrangement continues for another year, Rossall said. Westside is paying the Palmdale district $136,000 to lease the former Palmdale Learning Plaza campus near the Antelope Valley Mall for a year. The developer also will contribute $500,000 towards furniture and other equipment for the new school, including $125,000 immediately to set up a computer lab at the temporary campus, Rossall said. Westside officials said there is more than $10 million in the special escrow account. Under an escrow agreement reached in December 2004, for the first 500 homes in Phase I, builders paid $3.54 per square foot for houses they sought building permits for ranging in size from 1,800 square feet to 3,700 square feet. The $3.54 rate, which amounted to $6,300 to $13,000 per house, was more than twice Westside’s standard developer fee at the time of $1.66 a square foot. For any homes the builders sought to build past the 500th home, the fee jumped to $10,442 per house. The agreement also calls for Westside to purchase from the developer a 10-acre site in Anaverde that’s already been set aside for the school for its appraised value, which the district anticipates will be about $3 million, officials said. The land will be acquired using state matching funds and district money, officials said. The permanent Anaverde Hills campus will duplicate the design of Westside’s Esperanza School and will initially be a kindergarten-through eighth grade school, depending on what happens in the Ritter Ranch development, officials said. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “This has been a very long and difficult process, but we wanted to make sure we were protecting the best interests of the children, the taxpayers and the district,” trustee Deborah Rutkowski-Hines said. “The board has been working hard to develop long-range planning to house our present and future students. This agreement is an important part of that plan.” Nearly 400 homes have been built in Anaverde as part of the first phase of 1,472 homes in the 5,000-home development, which lies in southwest Palmdale off Avenue S west of the Antelope Valley Freeway. The agreement with Anaverde LLC, a partnership between Empire Cos. and KB Home, calls for the developer to build a 750-student school. District officials said the school will cost about $20 million and will be paid for with state matching funds and money that Anaverde’s builders have been paying into a special account. “They will build the school and will get whatever state reimbursement we get on the building,” Superintendent Regina Rossall said.