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Anxious eyes on Earl Warren sports field

Solana Beach opens fire at school district bureaucrats

"We’ve got to keep our green space.”
"We’ve got to keep our green space.”

It seems the city of Solana Beach may have thrown down the gauntlet against the San Dieguito High School District’s plans to take over a field at Earl Warren Middle School for a multi-story administration building.

Surprised to find the action item on the agenda of the school board’s last meeting, four Solana Beach city councilpersons and their community services director, Joseph Lin, showed up and presented a letter from the city manager.

Earl Warren lies on Lomas Santa Fe in Solana Beach between I-5 and Highway 101.

According to Lin, the letter stated that the district would be required to meet the obligations of the city’s zoning and land-use general plan, provisions, conditional use and encroachment permits beyond the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and the Coastal Commission.

City counselor David Zito advised the building would not be part of the district’s educational component. He suggested the district’s consultant should study the plan more in relationship to the city’s requirements.

Zito stated he was surprised after a February 3 meeting with the district that the district did not advise the city the item would be on the agenda. “Not even a phone call?” Zito questioned.

Others involved in the city’s youth sports programs spoke out against the building’s plan, stating Solana Beach has limited green space and youth sports playing fields.

“We need fields,” stated Jeff Lyle, president of the Solana Beach Soccer Club. “Earl Warren provides one of the only fields in the city.”

District Superintendent Robert Haley countered, “I would think they [city of Solana Beach] would have come up with a long-term plan for the city,” in referring to the amount of open space and parks he finds living in Carmel Valley.

“Don’t shove that off on the city council,” said district board member Maureen “Mo” Muir. She stated she was also surprised to find the item on the agenda. “I thought you had dropped this,” questioning the superintendent.

“There are so many other things we need to take care of for our kids. We’ve got to keep our green space, ” added Muir. Board member Joyce Dalessandro added that the district has not looked into the option of buying an existing building, pointing to commercial vacancies in the district. “We haven’t had community input,” Muir ad

The district’s preliminary plans call for a $20 million multi-story administration office with 114 parking spaces, to replace the 40-year-old administration building at 710 Encinitas Boulevard, and either sell the property, or rehabilitate it as commercial rental units. The plan would include selling an additional staff building on Vulcan Avenue, which could probably be rezoned to allow condos.

“Stop this project immediately. You’re not in the business of property management or real estate,” resident Patrick German told the board.

The board voted to approve spending $257,000 for architectural and engineering services for the beginning of the modernizing the Encinitas Boulevard building, and directed staff to explore additional options for a new administration building.

In the mix of discussion, it was reported that the district would receive a $50 million rebate from the state on a 2015 school site construction project.

Not wanting to see those funds earmarked for a new building, Muir, in a March 5 email to board president Beth Hergesheimer, requested a future meeting agenda item for discussion of a master plan for the middle school campus, including a rehabilitation of the athletic field in question, and a possible pool.

None of the four high schools in the district have a pool; yet offer aquatic sports programs and clubs by sharing swimming pools in Coronado and Carlsbad.

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"We’ve got to keep our green space.”
"We’ve got to keep our green space.”

It seems the city of Solana Beach may have thrown down the gauntlet against the San Dieguito High School District’s plans to take over a field at Earl Warren Middle School for a multi-story administration building.

Surprised to find the action item on the agenda of the school board’s last meeting, four Solana Beach city councilpersons and their community services director, Joseph Lin, showed up and presented a letter from the city manager.

Earl Warren lies on Lomas Santa Fe in Solana Beach between I-5 and Highway 101.

According to Lin, the letter stated that the district would be required to meet the obligations of the city’s zoning and land-use general plan, provisions, conditional use and encroachment permits beyond the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and the Coastal Commission.

City counselor David Zito advised the building would not be part of the district’s educational component. He suggested the district’s consultant should study the plan more in relationship to the city’s requirements.

Zito stated he was surprised after a February 3 meeting with the district that the district did not advise the city the item would be on the agenda. “Not even a phone call?” Zito questioned.

Others involved in the city’s youth sports programs spoke out against the building’s plan, stating Solana Beach has limited green space and youth sports playing fields.

“We need fields,” stated Jeff Lyle, president of the Solana Beach Soccer Club. “Earl Warren provides one of the only fields in the city.”

District Superintendent Robert Haley countered, “I would think they [city of Solana Beach] would have come up with a long-term plan for the city,” in referring to the amount of open space and parks he finds living in Carmel Valley.

“Don’t shove that off on the city council,” said district board member Maureen “Mo” Muir. She stated she was also surprised to find the item on the agenda. “I thought you had dropped this,” questioning the superintendent.

“There are so many other things we need to take care of for our kids. We’ve got to keep our green space, ” added Muir. Board member Joyce Dalessandro added that the district has not looked into the option of buying an existing building, pointing to commercial vacancies in the district. “We haven’t had community input,” Muir ad

The district’s preliminary plans call for a $20 million multi-story administration office with 114 parking spaces, to replace the 40-year-old administration building at 710 Encinitas Boulevard, and either sell the property, or rehabilitate it as commercial rental units. The plan would include selling an additional staff building on Vulcan Avenue, which could probably be rezoned to allow condos.

“Stop this project immediately. You’re not in the business of property management or real estate,” resident Patrick German told the board.

The board voted to approve spending $257,000 for architectural and engineering services for the beginning of the modernizing the Encinitas Boulevard building, and directed staff to explore additional options for a new administration building.

In the mix of discussion, it was reported that the district would receive a $50 million rebate from the state on a 2015 school site construction project.

Not wanting to see those funds earmarked for a new building, Muir, in a March 5 email to board president Beth Hergesheimer, requested a future meeting agenda item for discussion of a master plan for the middle school campus, including a rehabilitation of the athletic field in question, and a possible pool.

None of the four high schools in the district have a pool; yet offer aquatic sports programs and clubs by sharing swimming pools in Coronado and Carlsbad.

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Comments
8

Empire and palace building at their best. That's what school administrators do so well. Good to learn that the board didn't like it. While that building on Encinitas Blvd is a dump, and doesn't meet usual school seismic standards, it isn't an either-or decision for the district. That's a large area and there are always office buildings for lease. (With the closure of so many retailers, conversion of retail space to host the district offices is an option that should be carefully explored.) This may be an opening salvo in a big fight. They just had a dust-up about the renaming of the continuation/alternative school, and the administration didn't get its way with the board. Kudos to the San Dieguito board for actually running the place and not turning a blind eye.

March 16, 2020
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March 16, 2020
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
March 17, 2020

Visduh, the heroes in this story are Solana Beach councilpersons, not the San Dieguito board of education. The San Dieguito school board tried to slip this item past the Solana Beach community without even notifying the City of Solana Beach that a controversial matter of common interest was docketed. Obviously, scarce green space in Solana Beach should be preserved rather than turned into an administrative headquarters. No wonder the recent statewide ballot measure for another school-building bond was nixed by voters. I voted No and advised others to do the same. I look forward to the day when I can vote Yes to earmark money specifically to improve academics and reduce class-size in K-12 education. Enough already with redundant "whole site modernizations."

March 17, 2020

You summed it up eloquently. I failed to read the piece closely. If it had not been for the SB councilpersons it likely would have been rubber-stamped. At least it wasn't approved in spite of the protests. The SDUHSD administration isn't doing so well with its board. Perhaps the board needs to take a close look at the current superintendent.

Your comments about the statewide measure that failed surprise me. You are making comments that are (dare I say it?) conservative. I fancy myself with that label--I want to know that tax money and bond money is spent carefully and responsibly. Sadly, that isn't something we can count on.

Thanks for taking me to the woodshed.

March 17, 2020

Visduh, no woodshed for you, ever: I depend on your incisive remarks and, on reading these, thought I had misread the piece! As for my "conservative" response to another shakedown in the name of public education, well, think of all those No votes as progressive protest. Like Bernie voting against NAFTA or the Iraq War.

March 17, 2020

That gives me much to think about. Thanks for the positive reinforcement.

March 17, 2020

Oh, given your name, I have to wish you a Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Enjoy the evening!

March 17, 2020

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