San Ysidro school officials have delayed the construction of a new elementary school after the discovery of shallow basins harboring the endangered fairy shrimp on a vacant lot in nearby Otay Mesa.

Groundbreaking of the Vista Del Mar Elementary School was scheduled to begin last month in time for a summer 2009 opening. But officials now have to draw up a fairy shrimp protection plan expected to take at least 18 months.

Tom Silva, the district's coordinator of construction, says the delay will increase the school's $27 million price tag. Silva said the project can come under budget if plans are scaled back.

Vista Del Mar would be the school district's eighth school to accommodate a growing population in Otay Mesa.