December 2019 home page

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Commentary: Good Design?

Site Plan.
Source: Del Mar Heights School Rebuild website.

Click on image to enlarge.

As a longtime principal of Del Mar Heights School, I learned the site’s potential wasn’t being realized, and over two decades had many discussions about our “dream” school. So, I attended all rebuild design meetings and was elated by the latest proposal which beautifully captured our shared ideas.

Over the years, on-site parking was limited to “Staff Only” with 43 available parking spaces serving 60 staff members. This problem impacted access to the school during and after school hours. Most importantly, it was a safety issue as Boquita Drive typically was filled with parked cars restricting access for emergency vehicles. The proposed parking around the back of the school not only will alleviate congestion, it will improve safety.

Another problem on the campus was a lack of trees, and the only significant shade tree was damaged and removed last year following a storm. The green space plan incorporates trees throughout the campus which will provide beauty, shade, and sun protection.

One of our longtime goals was for the school to become an active community resource even during school hours. The proposed green space in the northwest corridor, which can be accessed during the school day, fulfills that goal. I would like to advocate creating a memorial in this beautiful area to Nicholas Leslie, a former student, who tragically was killed in Nice, France during a terrorist attack. Imagine viewing whales and dolphins from a telescope dedicated to Nick.
The proposed green space plan incorporates many positive additions. Picture students reading and talking in the grass “commons” area throughout the day. This also will be a welcome venue for classes to regularly access. The pathway along the western border of the field provides a lovely trail with unparalleled viewpoints. Having green spaces near classrooms incorporates nature into learning, and the creative play structures promote imaginative play. Finally, the proposed field is an appropriate size for the school. The Del Mar Heights’ physical education teacher has affirmed this field will meet all physical education and recess needs, and he knows this better than anyone!

Creating a school worthy of the unique Del Mar Heights’ site has been a longtime dream. Now it’s close to becoming a reality with a world-class educational facility and green spaces that will expand and enhance community usage opportunities. Ultimately, this extraordinary site will be a legacy for all of Del Mar … a dream come true!


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