Survey shows community doesn’t support bond for new Rancho Santa Fe School gym at this time


By Karen Billing

The Rancho Santa Fe School District has received the results from its community interest survey on the possibility to rebuild the school gym. At a July 21 special board meeting, Superintendent Lindy Delaney reported that 54.3 percent of the community is not interested in supporting a bond on the November ballot at this time.

“The results showed us the interest in the community for fixing up the gym is not as strong as we had hoped to see,” Delaney said. “I think the community spoke and said ‘Please wait.’”

Delaney said the community has been wonderful to the district and showed great support in building the new campus and the performing arts center, and at this time, “waiting is the best thing to do.”

The survey questioned participants about two options for the gym. Option one was to build a $19.2 million state-of-the-art two-court facility, including space for locker rooms and the wrestling and dance programs. That option received 29.7 percent support.

Option two was to build a three-court facility at a cost of $23.5 million. That option received 16.9 percent of the vote.

Delaney said she thinks there was a bit of “sticker shock” from the community about the potential cost. She said the board may look into a capital campaign that could help offset the cost.

Of the survey’s respondents, 75.9 percent did not have elementary school-aged children and 81.2 percent did not have middle school-aged children. Thirty-eight percent of respondents were ages 50-64 and 31.5 percent ages 65-plus. Twenty-four percent of respondents were ages 40-49, and only 5 percent fell into the 30-39 age group.

The gym was built in 1974 and its last big project was a new floor in 2007.

While the building can continue to operate under the code under which it was constructed, any revisions to the structure will trigger an accessibility upgrade for it to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To comply with ADA, the district would be required to get proper hardware and clearances for exits, new stairs and a ramp from the lobby to the gym floor; reconfigure the restrooms; and add vertical lifts, assistive listening equipment and new signs.