Natomas School District Moves Forward with Plan to Purchase Land from Sacramento Kings

West side entrance to the arena site from East Commerce Drive. /

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Updated Feb. 23, 2022

The Natomas Unified School District is moving forward with its plans to purchase a portion of the former Sleep Train arena site as a location for a future school.

The school board voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to approve a $6 million purchase and sale agreement with Sacramento Kings ownership, Sacramento Business Holdings Natomas LLC.

The Natomas Unified School District will hold a public hearing to receive comments on a preliminary environmental assessment for the proposed school site today, Feb. 23. Open session is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. CLICK HERE to submit a public comment after 4:45 p.m. today. CLICK HERE to watch the meeting livestream. CLICK HERE to view the meeting agenda.

As first reported by The Natomas Buzz in May 2021, the school district has been in negotiations to purchase a portion of the 183-acre arena site for a new K-5 or K-8 campus for several months.

If approved, the purchase and sale agreement would allow the district to purchase 12 acres for a new school which could focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM.

“We are pleased to partner with the Natomas Unified School District to further redevelop the arena site into a hub of innovation for our region,” said Sacramento Kings president of business operations John Rinehart, in a press release issued by the school district. “The school district will join California Northstate University in creating an education pipeline for our region.”

According to the school district, the purchase price for the property is $500,000 per acre — $88,333 less per acre than the appraised value of the property.

The land also includes 4.4 acres that would be used jointly by the district as field and playground space for students during the school day and by the community after school hours for organized games and events through an agreement with the city. The school board on Jan. 1 unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with the city for shared field space at the site.

“The open space agreement is similar to some of the other agreements that we have done in the past with the city,” superintendent Chris Evans said, in the press release. “It’s an opportunity for both our students and the Natomas community to benefit.”

The agreement being considered by the school board tomorrow, Jan. 19 includes a 60-day period during which the district will review whether the site meets property purchase guidelines set by the state.

Before the Natomas Unified School District can buy the arena property for a public school site, state education code requires the school board hold an open hearing to discuss and to evaluate the site.

Parks and Open Space Network

Source: Innovation Park presentation to the North Natomas Community Coalition

Renderings submitted by the Sacramento Kings ownership as part of the redevelopment process place a potential school site in the southeast corner of the arena site. According to the plans, the school would be within the “life district” east of Innovator Drive and bounded by B Street and Sports Parkway.

Last week, the Sacramento Planning Commission unanimously approved plans to redevelop the arena site which includes a teaching hospital and medical school. The Sacramento City Council is expected to vote on the plans next month.

The new Natomas Unified school site will serve families of school-age children in Natomas, which continues to see the most new housing development in the city.

In recent years, the Natomas Unified School District has eyed several properties as the building moratorium was lifted and construction of new single-family homes and apartments resumed within its boundaries.

To make room for more students, the Natomas district has expanded all of its elementary schools to K-8 and built new classrooms and facilities to accommodate these students.

The Natomas district moved Paso Verde School students to its newest campus and started construction on a new dual immersion school site on land it already owned on Club Center Drive in 2021.

Heredia Arriaga School Your bond dollars at Work! A new dual immersion school opening in 2023 or 2024 Natomas Unified School District

Construction is now under way on the new dual immersion school on Club Center Drive in Natomas. / Photo

In recent years, past school board agendas show that the Natomas Unified School District has considered purchasing undeveloped property on Airport Road and Tanzanite Way, property on Innovator Drive and Prosper Street where the Alira Luxury Apartments have since been built, as well as city-owned property on New Fong Ranch Road, adjacent to Natomas High School, which is now slated to be developed as affordable housing.

The arena footprint comprises five parcels, the largest of which is 100-acres in size and includes some developed parking as well as the unfinished baseball stadium.

Sleep Train Arena has largely remained vacant since the last Sacramento Kings game was played there in September 2016. The arena and adjacent area have been rented on occasion by private groups and more recently the state when it housed about 200 patients who were treated during the pandemic.


  1. […] campus on 30 acres of the arena site which was donated to the private college by the Kings. The Natomas Unified School District is also buying 12 acres from the Kings for a future school and city officials have approved entitlements which will allow housing, retail […]

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