RSF School District to request bids for safety fencing project

R. Roger Rowe School
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe School District is planning to make safety upgrades to the perimeter of the R. Roger Rowe School campus, close to the school’s connection with the community center and adjacent to the upper athletic fields. At the Feb. 23 meeting, the board approved going out for bid for the installation of a gate on the west side of the school gym and repairs to the concrete stairway connecting the back of the gym to the field ramp.

Ben Holbert, director of safety, security, facilities and technology, said the school faces challenges when there are middle school athletic events while school is still in session—the gym and the field become open to the public as visiting teams arrive, exposing the rest of the campus.“That is a vulnerability we want to try to address with this proposal,” Holbert said.

The plan involves a new seven-foot-tall fence along the gym with new egress gates that can be padlocked and a new path of travel connecting the field to the area between the gym and community center, allowing foot traffic while keeping the rest of the campus behind a physical barrier. Holbert said the fencing and gates are estimated to cost $25,000 and the concrete stairway is anticipated to be about $15,000.

During the board discussion, Trustee Annette Ross shared her concerns about finding a balance between keeping the school safe and not making the campus feel like a prison. Paul Seitz, the board’s new safety liaison, assured Ross he thought the improvements were a good idea as it can be “chaos” when teams, coaches and parents are arriving while instruction is still occurring on campus. Seitz said the improvements will additionally help bring the campus into compliance with fire department requirements.