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New school coming to Natomas, levees still need work | News

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New school coming to Natomas, levees still need work

Officials broke ground for Natomas' first new school in seven years Monday afternoon.  The plot of land sitting on Prosper and Gloster Ways will be the new home of the STAR Academy, a Natomas Charter School.

The existing STAR Academy occupied a warehouse.  It has a years long waitlist and couldn't expand until now that the building moratorium has been lifted. 

"We've had since the opening a lot of interest in our school, but it has curbed growth because it has limited how many students we can actually accept," said Ting Sun, executive director of Natomas Charter School. 

Brandy Kollenborn had two students at STAR Academy.  She was glad that the school can move forward.  "The cost to our schools has been tremendous, with the overcrowding and not having facilities for the kids to go to.  So it's been long enough," she said.  

It was not just new schools popping up.  They were building everywhere in Natomas.  After waiting all of these years, residents couldn't be happier.  However, the levees that put the community on hold seven years ago still needed work. 

"We are halfway to our goal, which was 200 year levels of protection, we are at a place where we can go ahead and build again, but people here still need to be prepared," said Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby, who represented Natomas.  

It may be hard to think about the threat of flooding during a record drought, but on the East Coast, South Carolina was experiencing a 1000 year flood. It caused devastation of historic proportions. Natomas' levees are still under construction and likely would not be able to stand up to such severe flooding. 

"We could very well be at that same kind of risk and everyone lose their homes and some people lose their lives," said Natomas resident, Linda Glen.  

Kollenborn said her family were taking precautions.  "Of course we think of worst case scenario, we have a boat in the garage and an emergency plan," she said.  "We'd  stand to lose everything if that was to happen," Kollenborn explained. 

Even though additional work was still required on Natomas' levees, Ashby said the community was better off.  

"People that live here are safer everyday than they were the day before, because those levees are being improved," she said.