Orcutt Senior Housing Project

Bringing Students and Seniors Together

“I am not aware of any other district in the state that has a collaborative relationship with a private organization to provide an intergenerational opportunity that affects everybody in the community.” .

Dr. Holly Edds, Superintendent, Orcutt Union School District In December, after years of planning, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Ranch at Orcutt Senior Housing Development on an almost 10 acre parcel on school district property next to the Oasis Senior Center on Soares Ave. An objective of the project is to bring students to the senior center and provide a learning experience to seniors and students. Dr. Edds indicates computer science principles and cyber security, currently being offered at Orcutt Academy High School, will provide help for the elderly on how to not fall prey to identity theft and help them troubleshoot computer issues. The district is hoping to offer classes in hopitality, recreation and the medical fields in partnership with the project to provide services to seniors and learning opportunities for students.

The multi-level senior residential complex will offera115-bedresidentialcarefacility. In addition, there will be 63 senior independent living units including cottages with fourplexes and a duplex, a day care facility for children, a private recreational center and a small park adjacent to a neighborhood park. There will be housing for up to 40 employees.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Sandy Knight says the district expects to receive about $200,000 annually from the lease of the property.

Joe Dana is the assistant superintendent for curriculum. He concurs with Dr. Edds. “We envision bands and choirs performing at the center. We envision students interviewing the elderly for oral histories. The Ranch will be a wonderful opportunity for those who reside there.” And, looking out the window from his office at the site of the huge project, Dana, who began his Orcutt educational career decades ago after attending local elementary and high schools and writing for the Santa Maria Times, wistfully said, “maybe even me.”

Developers are about 18 months from groundbreaking.

Steve Southwick reporting