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Big step across town
Roseland Prep community visits new campus at former Ursuline site

  • Roseland University Prep student Joel Gonzalez, 17, leads a tour of the new Roseland Collegiate Prep on the old Ursuline campus in Santa Rosa on Thursday, March 8, 2012. (KENT PORTER/ PD)

Ramiro Sanchez, a sixth-grade student at Roseland Elementary School in southwest Santa Rosa, knows he's one lucky young man.

In the fall, Ramiro will cross over Highway 101 from the west side of town and step into what used to be Ursuline High School, a private all-girls campus with rich educational resources that nurtured student aspirations for generations.

The 130-year-old parochial school closed last year, and the Catholic sisters who own the property will be leasing it to the Roseland School District.

For many of the people who are supporting the opening of Roseland Collegiate Prep, the time has come to feed Ramiro's ambitions.

"When I grow up, I want to be a doctor," Ramiro said. "This campus . . . it's more advanced than other campuses . . . I'm going to be one of the founding students."

On Thursday evening, Ramiro and his parents attended a jubilant celebration of the newest addition to the Roseland district. Much like the district's high school, Roseland University Prep, the new campus is aimed at offering students a college-prep education.

The school will begin with 60 seventh-graders in two classrooms and add grades each year after that until it reaches the 12th grade. The Ursuline sisters plan to rent the space the new school needs as it grows.

The first classrooms will be on the second floor of the main building that also houses the administrative offices. The inside of the building has been painted a shade of olive green, and flags of the nation's best universities hang from hallway ceilings.

The event, held near the front entrance of the administration building, brought together local elected officials and Roseland district supporters, as well as Roseland district staff, board members, teachers, students and their parents.

Visitors, drenched in afternoon sunlight, sipped mineral water along with chardonnay and pinot noir donated by the Francis Ford Coppola Winery as recorded big-band jazz tunes played.

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