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  • Measure U Update: Summerland School

    The $5.2 million budget for projects at Summerland School represents a significant slice of the $90 million Measure U pie in relation to the school’s small size. Yet plans for little Summerland School call for a virtual replacement of the entire facility.

    “We take the view of what each campus needs based on the campus, not the student population,” said Cindy Abbott, Measure U Facilities Coordinator. With aged portable buildings and a sloped campus bisected by Varley Street, Summerland School’s limited spaces serve several purposes. The teacher’s lounge, for example, also serving as the cafeteria for meals prepared and brought over from Aliso School. The front office admin desk occupies a corner of the school’s library.

    For all that, however, Summerland School has the best view of perhaps any campus on the West Coast—a stunning panorama of the Santa Barbara Channel and Santa Cruz Island. A thriving school garden and tight-knit community makes Summerland School precious to the students and parents who go there. During a campus tour for Coastal View News, one parent stopped to ask Abbott and David Weniger, CUSD Director of Facilities and Operations, about the impact of the Measure U work on the student body. One possibility is that Summerland students may attend Aliso School while work is completed at Summerland.

    “Our kids will be kept together, right?” the parent asked. “They won’t be spread out at Aliso and taught by teachers there?” Without a firm answer, both Weniger and Abbott indicated that they thought that would probably be the case.

    Regarding the facilities’ work to be completed at Summerland School, all of the existing portable buildings are to be removed and significant grading and foundation work will follow. Caissons will reinforce both the southern slope of the campus playing field and the foundations for the six new Gen7 buildings that will replace the portables, some of which have been in service since the mid 1960s.
    The work at Summerland campus is scheduled for three years from now, and is anticipated to take one year. Soils reports and a geologic hazard study have been completed and revealed that significant reinforcement of the top soil and future structures will be required—all of which adds significant expense to the project.

    Proposition 51, a California public school facility bond passed in November 2016 raised $9 billion for school improvements, and CUSD is eligible to received matching funds that will augment the existing Measure U monies. However, schools across the state are also vying for the same funds, and the sooner CUSD can submit its application the better, according to Abbott. “We’re better off getting ‘in line’ more quickly,” she said, but the application for additional state funds cannot be submitted without approval of construction plans from the Division of State Architect, which takes “at least four months,” Weniger said. Plans for Canalino School will be submitted to DSA in the middle of May, and Carpinteria High and Middle schools at the end of June. The City of Carpinteria asserts that the district must also receive city permits for projects within city limits though that process has yet to begin.

    “We’re not renovating a campus,” Weniger said of Summerland School, “we’re building a new one.” Challenges abound at the Summerland site, including the ‘geo-tech’ work and negotiations with the County of Santa Barbara to purchase the section of Varley Street that bisects the school. Existing utility lines will be run underground if the street purchase goes through. The lower hard courts for basketball and tennis are to be re-done and a sidewalk added along the east side/front of the school. A county culvert at the bottom of Valencia Avenue, is another “issue” that Weniger, Abbott and the eventual Measure U contractors will have to deal with.

    Summerland School, the “home of the Waves,” looks to have a facility to match its stunning view around the year 2021.