Panel OKs funds for school façade

To help improve the aesthetic look of the La Granada façade of the new R. Roger Rowe School, the Rancho Santa Fe Association has kicked in $132,000.

The handout didn’t come easily.

At its meeting on Aug. 6, the board of directors found itself divided on the issue of the school district’s request for funds. It’s rare that the board is ever torn, President Bill Beckman noted.

The directors discussed whether it was appropriate for them to spend members’ money on the school, with Directors Tom Lang and Dick Doughty saying that private donors could pick up the tab rather than the association.

Beckman also worried about what kind of precedent it would set, that if an entity doesn’t live up to the standards of the community, the association should pay for it.

But Director Deb Plummer reminded the board that it was the Art Jury that made the requests for improvements to the façade.

“This is an extremely reasonable request by the school for something that’s going to enhance the community,” Plummer said.

The board came around to voting 5-1 in favor of the donation, with Doughty the sole dissenting vote.

“I see this as the school’s responsibility to take care of,” Doughty said. “I don’t see that the association is responsible to pay that bill.”

The board’s approval comes with the condition that the school raise funds between now and the project completion date instead of using the full amount the district requested from the association.

As the district’s total cost of the school is currently based on estimates, it could be that the district won’t even need the extra $132,000, manager Pete Smith said.

The ‘village look’

Although some Art Jury members participated in the design process, the school is not required to go through the full process. When the jury did finally see the plans, it had some concerns, according to Andrew Wright, the association’s consulting architect.

The Art Jury did a new design for the La Granada exterior, adding some revisions in detailing and reshaping some flat roofs. The resulting design is a little “friendlier” and with a traditional village look, Wright said.

The school district folded most of the jury’s recommendations into its design but realized it might not be able to fund all of it. The total cost of adding the Art Jury’s recommendations is $264,000, and the school district will pay for half.

Former Director Bob Spears said it’s not often that the association gets a funding partner. He gave the example of the county. When the association wanted to improve its roads, the county said it would but on the association’s dime, Spears said.

Spears said the cost would boil down to about $60 per Covenant parcel, and said for about the same price as one of the improved village sidewalk features, they will get a building the community can be proud of.

“This is going to be here for decades,” said Paul Slater, Art Jury president. “It would be a travesty if you wanted to go back to the old design and throw away all this work for $132,000 that’s maybe not even needed.”

Helping the school would extend a valuable partnership, Plummer said.

She said the school overpaid for the Dacus property by $100,000 and has allowed for the Rancho Santa Fe Patrol to have its temporary home there. The board also pledged its support for the new joint-use parking facility.


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