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Superintendent's Advisory Committee recommends Gird Road, Old River Road sites

The Bonsall Unified School District's Superintendent's Advisory Committee has deemed locations on Gird Road and Old River Road to be the two most preferable sites to build the new Bonsall High School campus.

A non-voting presentation was given to the BUSD board Jan. 11. BUSD superintendent David Jones gave the first part of the presentation and Eric Nordeen, who represents the Gird area on the advisory committee, provided the second part of the presentation.

The 50-acre Gird Road site which is already owned by the school district received 91 points based on the scoring criteria and the Old River Road property, whose exact location is not being made public since it is not for sale, received 78 points.

The committee spent approximately 30 hours on the various tasks. "It was a very thorough process, and I really appreciate their time," Jones said. "Hopefully they'll help the board to make a wise and informed decision on what we need for children."

Jones' portion of the presentation focused on the need for a new high school. Bonsall High School currently has 328 students and the school district which also includes Sullivan Middle School and three elementary schools has 2,581 students. The district projects high school enrollment of 703 and total enrollment of 3,337 for 2021-22. "They are going to be coming," Jones said.

The projected enrollment is based upon residential development plans within the school district boundaries as well as students at lower-level schools. "The homes are coming and we've got to plan and prepare for facilities. It's an immediate need," Jones said. "We have to plan and solve the problem of what we're going to do with more kids coming in."

Jones' portion of the presentation also included funding needs which will exist regardless of where the high school is built. The November 2016 election included the passage of Proposition 51, which provided $3 billion for schools throughout the state. The remaining grant cycle will allow $1.1 billion within the next 20 months. The Bonsall district will be seeking $9 million of Proposition 51 funds, which are awarded on a competitive basis.

On Nov. 9, the BUSD board selected Eric Ortega, Tom Flanagan, Nordeen, Kassandra Costa, Jeff Johnson, and Brian Olson to the Superintendent's Advisory Committee. Ortega represents the Pala area east of Couser Canyon Road; Flanagan represents the Rancho area east of Interstate 15 and west of the Pala area; Nordeen is the representative from the Gird Road area north of Highway 76 and west of I-15; Costa represents the Sullivan Middle School area north of Camino Del Rey, south and east of Highway 76, and west of I-15; Johnson represents the Bonsall Elementary School area south of Camino Del Rey, and Olson represents the Bonsall West area west of the State Route 76 bend.

The committee also includes Bonsall High School principal Lee Fleming, Bonsall Teachers Association president Julie Urquhart, BUSD assistant superintendent for business and administrative services William Pickering, and Bonsall Sponsor Group chair Margarette Morgan.

The committee members were authorized to obtain advice and guidance from professionals with school site selection, school funding, facility planning or design, environmental planning, and real estate experience, and some of those professional experts were present at advisory committee meetings.

The committee was tasked with identifying and analyzing all possible sites, including the current location on the Sullivan Middle School campus, to determine the best long-term solution. The committee's duties included identifying and analyzing multiple sites for a high school, providing a report to the BUSD board for review comparing each site including known limitations and potential costs, obtaining site-specific information and incorporating existing information into an analysis review, and recommending at least two sites to the BUSD board. The committee also provided written reports about meetings, recommendations, and actions on a regular basis as well as writing a final report.

The district contracted with real estate professional Patrick Miller to identify all possible sites within the district boundaries with at least 25 acres outside the 100-year flood plain and access to a public street and to sewer service.

"The realtor, Patrick Miller, has done a very good job of doing a full analysis and search for properties in the Bonsall Unified School District," Jones said. "He's done a full search."

Miller identified six sites which met the size and access criteria. "Not one of those sites is listed on the market for sale. That's an important point," Jones said.

The committee still analyzed all six sites along with the Gird Road site and the Ocean Breeze Ranch site which has been offered as potentially available to the school district although without a specific sale price.

The California Department of Education has site selection criteria, site selection evaluation, and comparative evaluation of candidate site forms. "We stuck to the same forms," Jones said.

The state forms, and therefore the committee's scoring, provide up to 20 points for safety, up to 15 points for location, up to 10 points apiece for environment, soils, topography, size and shape, and accessibility, and up to three points apiece for public services, utility, cost, availability, and public acceptance.

The initial weighted ranking by committee members narrowed the eight potential sites to five: the Gird Road, Old River Road, and Ocean Breeze sites and sites on Holly Lane and on South Mission Road.

The Gird Road site was the only one of the five to receive the maximum 20 points for safety. The 13 points for location shared first place in that category with the Old River Road site. The Gird Road site was the only one which received the maximum 10 points for environment or for topography, and the nine points apiece for soils and accessibility also shared the top score.

The Gird Road site was given nine points for size and shape while the Old River Road site scored 10 points in that category. The Gird Road site received three points apiece for utilities, cost, and availability and two apiece for public services and public acceptance. No site received the maximum three points for public acceptance.

The Holly Lane site ranked third with 77 points, the Ocean Breeze site had a score of 75 points, and the Mission Road location was given 73 points.

"This was a very fair process," Jones said.

The committee's final report was an overall ranking of potential sites and a recommendation of two locations but not a professional site evaluation, a recommendation of what type of school to build on any given site, a proposal on potential acquisition options, or a financial analysis on the various site alternatives.

"It was just an advisory committee with a recommendation to the board," Jones said.

The advisory committee's report will be incorporated into the Environmental Impact Report for the Gird Road site. A draft EIR is expected to be circulated for a 45-day public review later this month.

The committee also discussed the content of the Jan. 11 presentation, and the items presented to the board reflect the sentiments of the entire committee.

When the committee was formed the superintendent was authorized to utilize the committee for other activities if warranted. "I plan on using that group for another purpose that may come up in the future," Jones said. "I hope we can use that same committee again for another task, another purpose, because they were very productive and very helpful to me."

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


Reader Comments(2)

preston writes:

Tax payers do not want to pay twice for a new High School so the site needs to be able to accommodate a full service High School. Not sure if the Old River Road is large enough however I have been told that Gird Road is not and has restrictions that would prevent it from becoming a full service school. Bonsall is a growing affluent community and I believe parents and students will eventually want a first class school. Best not to make the mistake at this stage as tax payers will not approve.

SaveGirdValley writes:

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