Rancho Santa Fe School board approves district’s Master Plan

The Rancho Santa Fe School Board approved the district’s Master Plan at its Dec. 10 meeting. Superintendent Lindy Delaney said the plan includes both the history of where the district has been and what its goals and needs are for the future.

The approved master plan includes information on demographic trends, curriculum, safety and security, design requirements, classroom spaces and program requirements, and potential improvements and add-ons to the campus.

Funding is not addressed in the plan.

The plan details what the district would like to do if they are able to acquire adjacent properties and expand the school site, as well as options for a modernized or new gym building.

As Delaney said, the school currently has seven net usable acres and the goal would be to increase by four acres and give the district the opportunity for playing space and fields.

Delaney said with the plan, they tried to think of all the potential needs for the future.

The district has been in its renovated campus for six years and program needs have already changed. In particular, the robotics program is booming, Delaney said.

Currently the robotics lab is shared with the advanced physical science classroom and the space is very crowded. The robotics lab has also displaced a Spanish classroom, now being accommodated in a space intended for literacy support and other pull-out activities.

The plan master recommends expanding the advanced physical science classroom to provide space for robotics. The move also frees up a classroom for middle school Spanish.

“When you have five or six robotics teams, you do need a lot more space,” Delaney said. “I feel like the program is going to be a cornerstone program for the district going forward so the need for extra space is really there.”

With the acquisition of future properties along El Fuego, the plan details the district’s desires to potentially expand parking, add kindergarten through fourth grade fields and hard court play areas and purchase the remainder of El Fuego and extend it to Mimosa.

The plan also includes the facilities needs assessment on the expansion of the gym with four alternatives: modernize the existing gym with additions, a new two-court gym, a three -court gym and a three-court gym and hardcourt.

As the plan states, the current gym is undersized for physical education activities and the dance and wrestling room need their own spaces — dance is currently taught in a teacher training room and wrestling occurs at the community center.

In the past the board has discussed going out for a bond to build a new gym facility. The gym has repair needs right now and at the Dec. 10 meeting, the board approved beginning the process of going out to bid on repairs to the gym roof.

Delaney said the repairs need to made to the building’s eaves as the beams have rotted out and there are safety concerns. She said roof repair costs have been estimated at $30,00 to $75,000 but she would like to do the bare minimum as they might be looking at a new gym soon.

In 2014, the district conducted a survey weighing residents’ opinions on the district going out for a bond on two new gym options. A $19.2 million two-court facility received 29.7 percent support and a $23.5 million three-court facility received 16.9 percent of the vote.

Board member Todd Buchner said he would like to see an assessment of additional repair work the gym might need in the next three to four years as well as some smaller alternatives for a new gym at the January board meeting.

RSF School Board President Tyler Seltzer also requested that they add an elevator in the two-story building to the master plan. He said he saw the need for the elevator during the recent Grandparent’s Day celebrations in November.

Delaney said the district does meet accessibility requirements with ramping for the building but the ramp is long and “substantial” — school staff is prepared to transport people on Grandparents’ Day and other events but Seltzer said it would be nice to have an easier access.

Debra Vaughn-Cleff of Webb Cleff Architecture and Engineering said the elevator was considered cost-prohibitive when the new campus was being built. Vaughn-Cleff estimated the elevator itself would run $200,000 and would likely need to be housed in a tower, an estimated project cost of $400,000 to $500,000.

Delaney said if and when they look at gym facilities, they could consider adding an elevator at that time.

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