The Coast News Group

Expectations high for new school

RANCHO SANTA FE — In a community that features a concentration of the some of the most magnificent homes in the country, if not the world, expectations run high. So when school Superintendent Lindy Delaney gave an update on the status of the construction of the R. Roger Rowe School to the Association board of directors at its meeting May 21, expectations also ran high. The new school’s merits, however, came up short in the Art Jury’s eyes.
The Art Jury submitted a letter dated April 23, 2009, outlining its position on many of the proposed improvements to the school. Art Jury President Paul Slater stated that the Art Jury’s involvement has been minimal and had concerns with several aspects of the design. As a public entity, the school district does not have to go through the Art Jury, but has been encouraged to work with the Art Jury and the Association. Slater was therefore surprised to see renderings for the first time at the May 21 meeting. “We want the best possible design,” he said. “And I don’t think we’re there.”
Construction on the school is to begin this month once classes have finished and teachers have completed their school year. The budget for construction is firm at $32 million and the school expects to receive an additional $2.5 million in state modernization grant money, which would bring the total to $34.5 million. Delaney said that there are additional items that the school would like to implement to the construction but it will not be known whether there will be room in the budget for those items until CW Driver, the general contractor for the renovation project, declares the Guaranteed Maximum Price.
Slater said he felt strongly that if there were additional items needed to improve the design and benefit the school, that funds could be raised in the community.
Association President Lois Jones encouraged the school district and Art Jury to work together. “I hope the recommendations of the Art Jury will be taken seriously to make this a signature building.”
In other association news, the board of directors approved the relocation of the Patrol offices from the Fire Station to a temporary facility on the Dacus property. The Patrol will be housed in a modular unit and there were eight conditions that were also approved, including temporary fencing, landscaping and access to the site from El Fuego. Placing the Patrol on the Dacus property will facilitate in keeping an eye on the renovation of the school during construction and maintaining a strong presence in the village.
“The single motivating factor has been to protect the welfare of our community.” Association Manager Pete Smith said.
The next Association meeting is scheduled for June 4.