Credo High School, a tuition-free, public charter school in Rohnert Park, will relocate to Sonoma Mountain Village with plans to become the world’s first One Planet Living School.
Moving to SOMO Village is the culmination of a nine-year plan by Credo developers, according to Chip Romer, the school’s executive director. The school is working with the international organization One Planet Living, which advocates 10 principles by which to reduce consumption of resources, minimize negative environmental effects and maximize health and happiness.
For its new school campus, Credo will convert an existing 35,000-square-foot portion of a building that served as the SoCo Nexus business incubator and was originally a Hewlett Packard research facility.
Initially, small offices now configured around an open space will be reconfigured into 20 classrooms. The school will move into the new space the first week of March, with the rest of the renovations taking place over the summer.
The Cotati-Rohnert Park School District will convert the current Credo school facility into year-round K-5 classrooms.
Credo has 250 students and is expected to grow to 330 next year, and to 600 in 10 years, Romer said. The school is also the only public school on Sonoma County to be certified as a Green Business by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.
In 2016, Credo hired Marika Ramsden as One Planet Living Director to assist in embedding One Planet Principles into the school’s culture. For each of the 10 principles, a pair of Credo student leaders are assigned to educate the rest of the school community about the importance of that principle. A duo on sustainable water, for example, researched filtered hydration stations for the new campus to encourage consumption of healthy water and discourage use of disposable plastic bottles.
At the new campus, Credo students will have responsibilities to the broader SOMO Village community, such as farming to produce food for school consumption, for the surrounding community and for nearby Sonoma State University cafeterias.
SOMO Village pledged $1 million towardsthe new school space and offered amenities such as garden and farm space, sports fields and event-center use.
Credo negotiated affordable rent for 10 years at the site and expects to spend nearly $3 million for tenant improvements, 50 percent of which has already been secured.
SOMO Village, a $1 billion, 200-acre mixed-use redevelopment, was planned in partnership with One Planet Communities. The development has 1,900 homes, including a 300-unit retirement community of the San Francisco Zen Center that includes Green Gulch Farm and Greens Restaurant. The campus also rents space to start-ups and other companies.
SoCo Nexus previously held events in the space such as Founders Fight Club, monthly mixers, Startup Jam, Toolkit lunch and other community building events. SoCo Nexus will continue to hold events in a different space on campus.
SOMO Village is currently 95 percent leased. Its newest tenant is Traditional Medicinals which is currently completing renovations and plans to move on campus in the spring. Altworks, a creator of ergonomic computer workstations, is on campus as well and aims to increase its manufacturing, according to Amee Sas, a contracted leasing agent.
Several other companies recently emerged from the SOMO incubator, including Nonprofit Easy, Crater, North Bay Brewery Tours and OGTea.
“Crater is one of our most successful startups over the past year,” Sas said, with a new office opening in Belgrade and significant investment from the North Bay Angels. Crater creates mobile apps for moving companies. The company’s founder and CEO is Alex Alpert.