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Plans to develop Fallbrook High School Aquatic Center presented at school board meeting

Jessica Ussher

Investigative Reporter Intern

On Nov. 8, Foresight Planning and Development presented their master plan to modernize and reconstruct Fallbrook High School at the Fallbrook Union High School Board meeting.

The master plan proposed to rebuild or reconstruct the school's aquatic center, as well as consolidate some buildings on campus to optimize space. The master plan was presented by Foresight’s CEO and Founder Kristen Rose, who has been working on this project with the district over the last seven to eight months.

Although there are two options for the pool’s reconstruction of Fallbrook High School, this presentation focused on the second option. Previously option one, which involves replacing the school’s 38-meter by 25-yard pool and reconstructing the aquatic center in its existing location was presented to the board.

Option one also includes a new pump, storage, shower, locker, and team room buildings. The site will be landscaped and re-fenced to complement the pool deck replacement and new bleachers. Additionally, the option also includes more parking, and the basketball and handball courts would remain intact. However, only the boys' changing rooms will be modernized, and the students would lose access to the pool during the reconstruction.

The second option consists of moving the aquatic center to a different location and building a new center there while maintaining student access to the old pool during the construction period. The new aquatic center would also include a new locker, shower, team room, and storage building, but it also includes a ticket and concessions building.

New site work which includes new bleachers, a pool deck, fencing, landscaping, and a new courtyard is also part of the second option. This option would lose the handball courts; however, both the girl's and boy's locker rooms would be replaced. A gym expansion was suggested by Rose in place of the old aquatic center providing additional facilities for the students.

Rose told the board that this is a holistic project and “a facility master plan is a continuous space for improvement.” Beyond the reconstruction of the aquatic center, the master plan includes later phases that will see the upgrade and modernization of classrooms and administration buildings, in addition to electrical expansion upgrades.

Rose highlighted the need for a new kitchen in the art building and for other buildings to be consolidated to limit the distance the students travel across campus. Rose also proposed moving the maintenance building nearer the district operations office and combining alternative programs on a separate campus.

“One of the things we consider is how do we minimize unnecessary costs if we can. By modernizing existing classrooms, students are displaced which leads to money spent on interim housing. That’s why new classrooms are included in these phases to offset the cost of interim housing” said Rose.

The main difference between the first and second options is the second option changes the order of the buildings that will be modernized. However overall, Rose highlighted that the final plan is still consistent with what was previously presented to the board.

The cost comparison of both reconstruction options differs by approximately $2.5 million. Completion of option one, including the later phases, is estimated at $462,000,000 dollars, while completion of option two and the later phases is estimated at $466,000,000.

While the board appreciated the work invested into creating the proposal, some members were critical of some aspects of the master plan. “Earlier phases of this plan is what the district is trying to accomplish, later phases that are included are just the plan,” stated President Eddie Jones.

Trustee Paul Christensen also said that Fallbrook High School is landlocked, therefore, building upwards rather than outwards could be advantageous. Christensen also highlighted that additional parking could be considered later, and more attention could be given to modernizing the Science department. He suggested that a multi-story, modern, science block could be more fitting at this stage.

Generally, the board felt that the biggest barrier in this project was finances with Christensen questioning where the school was going to get the funds to finance this project. “Fallbrook High School is part of a community and as such this reconstruction needs more input from the community.”

To avoid the need for constant modernization in the future, the board requested estimations for new buildings to compare with the cost of modernizing buildings. Foresight Planning has completed their preliminary stages of planning and will be preparing the next update based on the feedback provided by the board.

 

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