Del Mar Hills, Ocean Air to house Del Mar Heights students during rebuild

The Del Mar Union School District administration office.
(Karen Billing)

The Del Mar Union School District has made its decision to house Del Mar Heights School students at Del Mar Hills Academy and Ocean Air Elementary School during the one-year construction in 2020-21.

The district will be creating a satellite K-3 Heights campus at Del Mar Hills with 236 students coming across Del Mar Heights Road for a total enrollment of 501 students. The satellite 4-6th grade Heights campus at Ocean Air will bring about 206 additional students to the school in Carmel Valley for a total enrollment of 786.

The plan will require the addition of four portables to Del Mar Hills and one portable at Ocean Air. At each satellite campus, the students will have their home teachers and administration—there would be no impact to class sizes at Ocean Air and Del Mar Hills. Each school would function separately, allowing them to maintain their unique school culture and events.

The district will also be providing busing to Ocean Air from the Del Mar community.

A district planning committee will start meeting monthly in November to prepare for the transition, discussing things such as bus stops, start times and school operations.

DMUSD President Erica Halpern said at the Oct. 24 board meeting that she is still hearing confusion in the community about whether Del Mar Hills is going to be closed in the future.

“The district is committed to the long-term viability of Del Mar Hills,” Executive Director of Capital Programs Chris Delehanty said.

Del Mar Hills is the next big project after the rebuild of Del Mar Heights and the new school in Pacific Highlands Ranch. Delehanty said the district has allocated $10 million of Measure MM funds to modernize the site in 2021-23. Delehanty said Del Mar Hills is home to a “high-functioning academic program” and is also the most likely site for the district’s Spanish immersion program that is set to launch in 2020.

Ocean Air’s MM work is ongoing, including upgrades to modern learning studio upgrades and the innovation center. A playground replacement is also scheduled for 2023-24. Ocean Air is the newest school in the district but MM funds are allocated for major modernization of the school in 2028-29.