The Coast News Group
Cardiff Elementary School. File photo

New Cardiff school plan will require student relocation

ENCINITAS — The latest iteration of the proposed redesign of Cardiff Elementary School — which school officials hope is the last — will require half of the school’s students to spend a year at Ada Harris Elementary during construction, officials said.

Officials with the Cardiff School District presented the plan, which they will present to the full school board on Thursday, to reporters on Wednesday morning.

Cardiff has changed the plan several times since the fall to address concerns raised by community members about the floor plan, the loss of green space, trees and views. It also features a longer driveway and bigger parking area at the campus entrance on Montgomery Avenue to reduce vehicle queues in front of the school.

The fifth iteration of the plan proposes fewer of the large courtyards than in the previous proposals, which critics said made the campus too sprawled. Additionally, the relocated multipurpose room is on a lower section of current field so that it doesn’t impact views as much as the first plan.

“Balancing the desires of our stakeholders was very important to us,” Cardiff School Superintendent Jill Vinson said. “We held a number of public meetings and workshops about the plan and accommodated feedback where we could, while always keeping our students’ safety, security and learning environment in the forefront of our minds.”

But officials said rising construction costs and the smaller construction footprint won’t allow for the district to use portable buildings to house students during construction. Rather, they said, second and third grade students at the K-3 campus will attend classes at Ada Harris during the 2019-2020 school year.

Vinson said some buildings on Ada Harris, a grade 4-6 campus, will double as classroom space, such as libraries and computer labs, during the yearlong construction.

Vinson said she hasn’t heard any push back from parents about the relocation plan, while Board President Siena Randall said that she has received mostly positive feedback about the new redesign.

“A lot of people came out to compliment the district for being good listeners, and there’s been a lot of positive feedback about tightening the campus,” Randall said.

Following the update, officials said the district will work on drafting an environmental impact report that should be publicly available in August. Following the environmental and coastal development permitting processes, school officials expect to break ground on the project by summer or fall of 2019.

The redesign is being funded by Measure GG, the $22 million bond measure voters approved in November 2016. District officials last year said the bond proceeds would be used to rebuild, upgrade and renovate district facilities.