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BUSD approves J.W. Fowler lease of former Station 5 property

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

J.W. Fowler is a civil and utilities contractor which is headquartered in the Oregon town of Dallas and has an office in San Diego. In October 2021, the Rainbow Municipal Water District awarded J.W. Fowler a 28-month contract to construct the replacement for Lift Station No. 1. That includes work on Old River Road, and the Feb. 15 Bonsall Unified School District board meeting included approval of a lease to J.W. Fowler to stage equipment on school district property.

The 5-0 school board vote authorized J.W. Fowler to stage construction equipment and materials, haul trucks, and other equipment on the BUSD property in the 31400 block of Old River Road. J.W. Fowler will pay the school district $500 per month for up to six months.

“It seems like a great opportunity for them to store their equipment,” said BUSD superintendent Jason Fowler. “I think it’s truly a win-win.”

The 0.64-acre parcel is adjacent to Bonsall Elementary School. The Bonsall Union School District sold the property to the Fallbrook Fire Protection District for $35,000 in 1981. The grant deed, which was binding on successor agencies, included a stipulation that if the land was to be used for anything other than a fire station it was to be sold back to the school district for the purchase price of $35,000.

A fire station and a parking area were constructed on the property. The Fallbrook Fire Protection District became the North County Fire Protection District in 1986 and the Bonsall Union School District became the Bonsall Unified School District in 2014.

The former Station 5 was replaced with a newer and larger station on Olive Hill Road and, in early 2015, the fire district moved its personnel and apparatus into the new station. The land was sold back to the Bonsall school district in 2016.

The fire station building was not useful for any educational purposes. On Oct. 19, the BUSD board approved a contract with Watkins Environmental to handle demolition and removal needs for the former fire station and a shed on the property. The demolition work did not include the slab and footings for the structure.

“This project doesn’t impact the school at all,” Clevenger said.

The school district has not made a definite decision on the use of the land. The school district also has not yet decided whether a 49.78-acre parcel off of Gird Road the district owns will be used for a school, for athletic or other non-classroom facilities, or for revenue by a sale of the land.

On Sept. 13, the BUSD board approved a three-month lease agreement with the Rainbow Municipal Water District to store construction equipment and materials, haul trucks, and other equipment on a one-acre portion of the Gird Road property. Rainbow, which was upgrading a pipeline along Gird Road, compensated the school district with maintenance and other improvements rather than monetarily.

The Gird Road lease benefits also included traffic reduction on that road. That will also be the case for the Old River Road lease. “A lot of it’s being done in the evening and early morning,” Clevenger said of the J.W. Fowler work.

The lease will be for six months although, if J.W. Fowler vacates the premises, the lease will end earlier than that. J.W. Fowler will be allowed to install a fence and maintain a locked gate if needed. J.W. Fowler will be responsible for obtaining any necessary governmental approvals for operations on the land and will pay all fees associated with those permits.

At the end of the lease period, J.W. Fowler will consult with the school district about the condition of the premises. J.W. Fowler will leave changes made to the premises in place if approved by the school district and will restore premises to the condition at the beginning of the lease if instructed to do so.

“We’re happy to help keep big trucks out of the driveways and off the streets of our community,” Clevenger said.

Jim and Candace Fowler were part of a partnership called F&F Dozing which was founded in 1972. In 1977, they bought out the partnership and incorporated the James W. Fowler Company. The San Diego regional office was opened in the 1990s. The Fowler family is not related to former Bonsall High School principal Jason Fowler.


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