School district ready to start projects

Proposition AA is a bond measure that, if approved by voters in November, would fund improvements at San Dieguito Union High School District schools, including San Dieguito Academy. (Photo by Roman S. Koenig)

Proposition AA is a bond measure that, if approved by voters in November, would fund improvements at San Dieguito Union High School District schools, including San Dieguito Academy. (Photo by Roman S. Koenig)

Alex Groves

The San Dieguito Union High School District is ready to move forward on its plan to modernize facilities and improve technology infrastructure since the passage of a $449 million bond measure.

The measure – known formally as Proposition AA – was one of several on the ballot in November. Similar propositions, CC and EE, would have authorized the sale of bonds in the amounts of $76.8 million for the Del Mar Union School District and $497 million for MiraCosta College, respectively.

Although CC and EE missed the 55 percent threshold necessary to pass, San Dieguito’s bond just made it with 55.52 percent.

Despite the slim margin, San Dieguito district officials are in good spirits, according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Eric Dill, who added that the district’s win might not have been as close as it seemed.

“We just eked over the threshold to pass, but if you look at our actual margin of yes and no votes, that’s an 11 percent spread,” he said. “More than a majority of our constituents are in favor of this and so far we’ve only heard congratulations (from) people who are excited to see us get to work.”

Renovations are set to begin at the start of summer for the school district, and will carry through 2020. For the first of many projects, only a portion of the $449 million will be used.

The initial sale of the bonds will be $150 million, according to district Superintendent Ken Noah.

The recent approval of the measure is only one development in many, with Noah saying that the projects to be financed through the bond have been under consideration for more than four years.

“In my first year here as superintendent, we impaneled a long-range facilities planning task force whose job it was to review the entire district in terms of our facility needs (as well as) what we need to bring all of our schools up to what we were calling 21st century standards,” Noah said

Renovations will be made at schools throughout the district.

Big plans for San Dieguito Academy

San Dieguito Academy will receive a new all-weather track as well as an artificial-surface playing field. The school will also work toward an increased stadium capacity.

After 2015, San Dieguito Academy will receive a massive overhaul. The campus’ historic core will remain mostly untouched, but the outermost buildings from the 1960s and ’70s will be torn down to make space for buildings that meet the needs of an increasing student population.

Encinitas middle school improvements

By this summer, Diegueño Middle School will receive significant improvements to its parking lot in order to alleviate traffic congestion. Major improvements will also be made to the school’s infrastructure. It will be primed for greater Internet connectivity and bandwidth, and will also receive new heating and ventilation systems.

Oak Crest Middle School is also set to receive new heating and ventilation systems this year. In addition, the school will also receive a new playing field that will extend into the campus’ “lower elevation,” or west side.

Other plans in the district

The development of a middle school in La Costa will start this year. Significant field work and the construction of a parking lot will benefit the students at nearby La Costa Canyon High School, according to district officials.

Also on tap for the coming year will be the acquisition of a site that will become a middle school in Carmel Valley. The site will be adjacent to Canyon Crest Academy, and will comprise an estimated 13 acres. The school will be unique in that it will be the last property within the district to see growth in its surrounding areas, Dill said.

Dill also said that the school’s initial function will be to lessen the student population of Carmel Valley Middle School. Currently, the campus is the district’s largest middle school, with about 1,500 students.

By building a new middle school, the district hopes to move some of the students, according to district officials.

“Our goal in our long-range facilities planning process was to bring that school down to 1,000 students, and then our two northern schools would be around 900 students (each),” Dill said. “One of the ways to bring that enrollment down at Carmel Valley Middle School would be to build a middle school that will be capable of handling another 1,000 students, 500 of which would be our existing students at the south end of the district.”

He added that the other 500 students would come from new housing developments in the nearby area.

The district’s master plan also calls for the replacement of Earl Warren Middle School’s buildings at its existing Solana Beach campus.

Alex Groves is a freelance writer in the region