Camarillo school for autistic students moves into new home
The new Triton Academy campus, located near the Camarillo Airport in a temporary facility.(Photo: ALEXA D’ANGELO/STAR STAFF)
A new year means new backpacks, pencils and notebooks. For students attending the Triton Academy, it also means a new school.
The county-run school for students with autism moved from its previous location to a brand-new, temporary spot near the Camarillo Airport. Last month, the kids saw the new campus, which consists of portable buildings in a semicircle around a quad that has spots for sitting and a painted-on track for students to ride their bikes and run in, for the first time.
“I think the school is really great and nice,” said Carissa Llamas, a Triton student. “I think it’s really cool we have a track right here. … I really like it a lot.”
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Llamas was enjoying running around the track before class started one day during summer school — which for Triton takes place just a couple of weeks before the actual start of the year. She said it was her favorite part of the new site, but she also liked the blue trim on the portable buildings.
What she really likes about Triton, though, are the people.
“We’re like family,” Llamas said. “Everyone is family here to me. I have friends, teachers and (the principal) who are like family to me.”
The process for moving Triton started last year when the school was informed it would have to move since the Pleasant Valley School District would need space back in the upcoming year to house its Pleasant Valley School of Engineering and Arts.
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The Ventura County Office of Education worked quickly to create a temporary facility for the students that would meet the needs of the specialized school — like incorporating spaces for life skills class and occupational therapy.
The Ventura County Office of Education “really wanted to make sure that staff, families and students were happy,” said Sarah Galloway, the new principal at Triton. “They knew it was going to be a big change. They knew there would be a lot of anxiousness about it. They really pulled out all the stops.”
The campus cost approximately $2.1 million from a combination of general funds and special education funds from the state, officials from the Ventura County Office of Education said.
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The school will occupy that spot only for a little while, though. The county is working on a new 29,944-square-foot, two-story building that will become Triton’s permanent home sometime in the 2019-2020 school year. The new building is going up next to the Ventura County Office of Educational Services Center on Adolfo Road in Camarillo.
But for now, the 65 or so students enrolled at Triton are happy where they are.
“It’s everything we hoped it would be. It’s really gone smoothly,” Galloway said. “Everything that the students needed to function was done on time.”
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