Del Mar Union School District board approves method to build Torrey Hills childcare facility

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District board Oct. 22 approved using a lease-lease-back method to construct the new Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) at Torrey Hills School.

Lease-lease-back is a method that school districts are opting to use — the district used the method to build the after-school childcare facilities at Ocean Air School in 2010. Cathy Birks, the district’s assistant superintendent of business services, noted the project was completed in 57 days and under budget.

Birks said with the lease-lease-back method the district has more control of the project, giving them the flexibility to select a contractor not just by the lowest bidder but on their ability to complete the project. The property is then leased to the construction firm in exchange for the facilities.

The contractor has the opportunity to select subcontractors to bid on the project and once the bids are awarded a guaranteed maximum price is delivered to the district. This provides the district with the most qualified and competitive project team, Birks said.

In plans approved at the Sept. 17 board meeting, nine classrooms and two portables at Torrey Hills will be reconfigured to house the ECDC, moving the facility from its current home at Sycamore Ridge. The plan also includes a new 30-space parking lot.

Construction could begin after winter break in early 2015 and the project complete for students to occupy in fall of 2016.

The project is now out for bid and the district will select a few construction firms to interview and bring their recommendation forward at the November board meeting.