By Karen Billing
The Del Mar Union School District is starting the new school year with a new district office. The district office closed for five days in July to accomplish the move from 9th Street in Del Mar to its new Torrey Hills office on 11232 El Camino Real. The move went smoothly and district superintendent Jim Peabody joked that they don’t miss the mold, mildew, lead paint and cold water of their old digs.
“We’re very happy here,” said Peabody on a tour of the new facility on Aug. 8. “It’s great to be in a nice, professional place to do business.”
School district board president Comischell Rodriguez, who was taking her first tour of the office since the district moved in, said the new office also makes the district more centrally located — on El Camino Real the district is close to its three largest schools: Torrey Hills, Sage Canyon and Ocean Air.
When the district bought the building, the board members elected not to kick out their upstairs tenant, a law firm whose lease expires in 2013. The district will move more functions to the second floor in 2013, but until then will collect $216,000 a year in rent from the firm.
With the move to the second floor in mind, improvements to the first floor space were kept minimal.
“We’re trying to do as simple as possible because we don’t want to spend money and then tear it out,” Peabody said.
While many of the district offices will change once they move in two years, the lobby is the one thing that will remain the most constant. The district has created a very welcoming place where families can come in and register—there will be a computer workstation for parents to help streamline the process.
The interior offices are organized in a big “u” shape with the superintendent, human resources, pupil services and business services departments each having their own space within the “u.”
“Everyone together in one building is a good thing,” Rodriguez said.
Darlene Nadlonek, human resources technician, said she most loves that she has a big window. In fact, every office in the “u” has a big window, a change from the darkened portables of 9th Street.
The office comes with a large conference room, whereas the old conference room was a tight squeeze with space just enough for the five-person board and very few others. While the conference room is better than the one they had before, Peabody said it “won’t rival” the conference room they will get when they move upstairs—in their permanent office plan they will have a room that will be able to sit 30 people.
At the 9th Street building, the work room was combined with a kitchen. Now not only do they now have a nice kitchen and coffee room, they have a separate sizable work and mailroom to conduct business without mixing with lunch. A large storage room allows them a place to store files instead of being stacked up wherever there was room in the old office. Additional storage is available at the district’s new maintenance and operations building, which is located about five blocks away.
Peabody was also very excited about the district’s ADA-compliant bathrooms with hot water, another luxury they did not have at 9th Street.