Ran – North County Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003 7:17 AM PDT

Designs for first Prop. U projects unveiled

By: Andrea Moss

SABRE SPRINGS ---- Designs for the first of 24 school improvement projects that will be carried out with money from a $198 million bond measure were presented Monday to the Poway school board.

Known as Proposition U, the measure was approved by voters last November. District officials have worked since then to line out the projects' logistics and timing and discuss individual campuses' needs with representatives of the architectural firm NTD Associates.

The firm is owned by Jon Baker. Monday, during a public presentation before the board's August meeting, he unveiled designs that show what will be added and changed at Midland and Westwood elementary schools and Mt. Carmel and Poway high schools. Those are the campuses that will be fixed up first.

John Collins, associate superintendent of the Poway Unified School District, also gave a preview of a new Web site designed to keep the public abreast of the latest project developments. Linked to the district's home page, the Web site is scheduled to go online Sept. 1.

“ We really feel this is a great step in the communication process so the community can go and look at it and see if they have any questions about (the projects)," Collins said.

The renovation projects are scheduled to start next summer. Midland School, which is the oldest in the 32,000-student school district, will be replaced with a new campus, with some of the proposition money.

The new school design was developed with the help of parents and community members who participated in a two-day symposium in the spring. The result is a multistory-building plan that will see most of the new school's structures consolidated around the northwest corner of Midland Road and Edgemoor Street in Old Poway.

Although the existing school occupies 8.7 acres at that site, the property is smaller than the 11-12 acres that the state recommends for an elementary school to serve the 700-plus students that Midland has, Baker said.

The new campus will therefore include a pair of two-story classroom buildings, he said. Separate kindergarten, administration and multipurpose buildings and a library centered around an open courtyard are also planned.

Opened in 1962, Westwood Elementary School features a circular design that Baker said presented challenges when it came to the school's renovation plan. Architects decided to add two classroom buildings to existing ones on the southern end of the campus and four new kindergarten classrooms on its northern side.

The school's library will be turned into a computer lab, its multipurpose room will become the new library, and a new multipurpose room will be built, Baker said.

Preliminary work has already begun on Mt. Carmel. The interiors of its classroom buildings will be extensively renovated to create fewer but larger rooms, Baker said.

A new music building, new science and physical fitness classrooms, improvements to the courtyard in front of a performing arts center at the campus and a new entrance are also planned for the school.

Poway High's renovation plan includes the addition of several multistory buildings, a new music center and a second courtyard to the school.
Parking has been a problem at Poway High for years. Although the planned improvements do no include any new parking lots, two existing student lots will be restriped to create about 100 new spaces and extra visitor parking spots will be added at the front of the campus.
Board members Penny Ranftle and Linda Vanderveen praised the designs, calling them "absolutely fabulous" and "great”, respectively. Parents' reactions were a little more mixed.

Christy Summers, whose 4- and 7-year-old sons are potential Midland students, said she was disappointed with the design for that campus because it did not appear to eliminate all portable classrooms at the school.

“ I had hoped with all the money we're putting into it, we would have gotten rid of all of them," she said.

Karen and Kurt Kinney said they were pleased, though, with the design for Mt. Carmel High School, where their son will be a freshman this year.

“ The school looks like it's definitely in need of some repair," said Karen Kinney. "So I'm thrilled that they're going to go ahead with it."