DMUSD hires architects to refresh facilities plan

On March 22, the Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) board approved a contract with OBR Architecture to update its Facilities Master Plan.

The current facilities master plan was developed in 2014 and has helped guide an estimated $6 million in work districtwide. The revised document will reflect the district’s educational programs and goals, capacity and facility needs with a cost analysis.

The architects will work with district stakeholders on developing the plan.

As reported last year, the district has “significant” facilities needs, particularly at its oldest schools, Del Mar Heights and Del Mar Hills, which are 58 years old and 42 years old respectively. Other needed renovations across the district include replacing aging portable buildings with permanent classrooms, classroom remodels and upgrades to infrastructure like technology and plumbing.

Concurrently, the district is working on its District Design through 2022 process, looking on making radical changes in the school experience overall.

“We see it truly as a call to action,” said DMUSD Superintendent Holly McClurg. “It really is a moral imperative. We owe it to our kids to look at what we’re providing them in school and to do it better because they need something different.”

In hiring the facilities master plan architect, the district put out a request for statement of qualifications to seven architectural firms. After an “extensive” interview process, the district evaluation team narrowed it down to the final two, ultimately selecting OBR Architecture.

Garrick Oliver of OBR said they were very excited about being selected, given the district’s passion and accountability toward re-envisioning the future of the educational experience.

School design today looks a lot like the district’s modern learning studios, where “students have the ability to customize and take ownership of the spaces based on their varied learning styles,” Oliver said. In modern classrooms, students can stand and sit and move as opposed to being in a rectangle facing a teaching wall from a row of desks.

“The interior classroom is dramatically different, at least it should be,” Oliver said of future design.

“What we’re seeing at Carmel Del Mar, it looks like a work place and that’s where it’s heading and that’s really exciting,” said Anney Rosenthal-Hall of OBR.

OBR said in their educational designs, they also focus on the ability to use outdoor space, to bleed indoor and outdoor space so students aren’t always stuck indoors and have the flexibility to move around and discover things on campus or have places for reflection.

The cost for the architectural services for the Facility Master Plan is $39,600 and will include stakeholder meetings, site visits, a deferred maintenance plan and multiple cost estimates for renovations or new construction on campuses. OBR will also provide assistance with programming and a cost estimate for the proposed ninth school in Pacific Highlands Ranch.