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Running Room
Nicole Pentheroudakis | Recuerdo Drive

When the community voted YES to approve Bond MM, it was voting to rebuild Del Mar Heights Elementary School. No one in the community dreamed that the school district would take the bond money that was given to them and eliminate a majority of the school field; open recreational space that is scarce in this community and that can never be replaced. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

The district rendering is misleading as it shows the proposed green space is only 5% less than that of the existing school. Their numbers include anything that is “green,” not open field. The school district’s definition of “Existing Green Space” does not include the square footage of the current baseball and kickball fields. In fact the proposed plan actually eliminates the baseball field, which has been used by this community for generations. Their “Proposed Green Space” numbers do, however, include the square footage of a planned amphitheater, perimeter grass, and a large green lot (large enough to currently house the entire kindergarten and kindergarten playground) that will be unusable by future students because it lies outside the fenced campus.

If the school district tries, again, to close Del Mar Hills Elementary School, the student capacity at the Heights will increase significantly. That would leave the community with one, small field at a Del Mar Heights “mega school.” That is all that will be left for future generations.

These kids are 5-12 years old and they need room to run and engage in free play in order to be able to sit in a classroom and learn. That is not possible in an “amphitheater” or some random green areas around the perimeter. The community needs a new school that will help teachers to provide an exceptional educational environment for our children. Upgrading buildings with collaborative spaces and more light is vital; but the field is just as essential to the children’s academic, social and physical growth. And it is just as essential to our community.
The Del Mar Union School District Board of Trustees and Superintendent Holly McClurg need to revisit the proposed school plans and find a way to provide both a wonderful new school facility AND keep the field intact. The projected cost for this rebuild is a staggering $42,000,000 with an additional almost $10,000,000 in soft costs. It’s not going to be rebuilt again for generations, so we need to do this right.

 

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