Del Mar school district facilities master plan outreach group prioritizes needs

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District facilities master plan outreach group arranged priorities at its Dec. 17 meeting. In an exercise with the district’s master plan facilitators, red dot stickers represented priorities on a list of district needs, such as collaboration space, replacing portables with buildings, flexible furnishing, front office improvements, covered dining and play areas, outdoor learning opportunities, parking and drop-off improvements, and replacing wood chips with rubber on the playground.

Modernization, technology enhancements and dedicated spaces for the Extended Studies Curriculum subjects of science, math, art and PE earned the most dots.

The group will meet once more to look at financing on Jan. 8, with the master plan to be presented to the board in February.

At last week’s meeting, the group had its first look at draft diagrams of site improvements for all the district schools, everything from a full modernization of Carmel Del Mar to simply reconfiguring the library at Ocean Air into a “innovation center” by taking down the wall between a technology classroom and the library.

Don Pender, of LPA Architecture, said the diagrams were created using the “meaningful guidance” they have received throughout the process and looking at individual site needs.

In the plan for Carmel Del Mar, there was a significant amount of modernization as the school needs work on its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, sewer line, roofing and flooring. A new two-story building was planned for the campus to replace portables and to designate space for ESC programs.

The Del Mar Heights and Del Mar Hills plans also showed new buildings to replace portables, as well as new lighting, flooring and reconfigured libraries and administration offices. One proposed portable to be removed at the Hills will allow the parking lot to be reconfigured.

Del Mar Heights Principal Wendy Wardlow spoke up when she heard that there were no parking or drop-off adjustments at Del Mar Heights.

“We can’t even accommodate our staff,” Wardlow said, noting they have 60 staff members and just 47 spaces. “It’s a huge problem for the campus.”

As Pender said, the diagrams are just diagrams, not complete designs. There can be fluidity in the plans and the plans will go through their own design process so the schools plan for exactly what they need.

Torrey Hills School had a very dramatic plan as nearly every single classroom was planned to be reconfigured, taking out the shared work space and adding it onto the classrooms which are among the smaller ones in the district.

One parent was confused that they would take out collaboration space when it has been stressed as a need throughout the district. The parent also wondered how so much work could be needed on a campus that was built in 2002.

Both Ashley Falls and Sage Canyon would see more modernization than reconfiguration, with portables being replaced by permanent buildings.

In the prioritization exercise the group did, there were no stickers given to a professional learning center, parent workroom, reconfiguring administration, collaboration space or replacing wood chips with rubber.

DMUSD’s two Del Mar schools talk reconfiguration

Superintendent Holly McClurg said a meeting was held this month between Del Mar Hills and Del Mar Heights regarding whether the district should pursue reconfiguring the two west-side schools (such as making Hills K-3 and Heights 4-6). McClurg said the main result that came out of the meeting was that the campuses were interested in having strong collaboration and neighborhood and community building, but did not want to drastically change the schools’ configurations at this time.