Ran: San Diego Union-Tribune - North Inland - Wednesday, August 20, 2003

$198 million renovation project in works Poway schools are Building for Success

By: Blanca Gonzalez

POWAY - Plans for a new, improved Midland Elementary School include two-story classroom buildings wired for the latest technology but the campus look will definitely be old-school with a design theme that reflects the neighboring Old Poway Historical District.

Design plans for Midland and renovation plans for three other Poway Unified schools were presented to the school board Monday night as the district begins a $198 million overhaul of schools, which it has dubbed Building for Success.

The project, funded by a school bond measure passed last year, includes upgrading 23 schools that were built between 1960 and 1990 and replacing Midland, the district's oldest school.

Renovations range from adding permanent classrooms and science labs to replacing aging and inefficient heating and plumbing systems. The first four schools to see major changes will be Poway High School, Mt. Carmel High School, Westwood Elementary and Midland Elementary, with construction expected to begin in the summer of 2004. Midland, which was built in 1949, had an original student capacity of 490 but now serves about 690. The district decided it would make more sense to replace the aging, inefficient school with one that meets building codes, including earthquake, electrical, plumbing and ADA (Americans with Disabilities act), rather than try to upgrade the old school buildings. The new school is expected to cost about $15 million.

Jon Baker, president of NTD Architects, told trustees that Midland's design concept came out of a two-day symposium that brought together architects, district staff, administrators, teachers, parents, neighbors and City of Poway officials to identify needs and objectives as well as design constraints.

The two-story classroom buildings are the result of having a small site and wanting to retain some of the old trees on campus the school will feature a courtyard on campus and a corner plaza at the intersection of Midland Road and Edgemoor Street, which is designed to form a connection to the surrounding neighborhood where parents can wait for their children after school, Baker said.

The design also calls for expanding parking to 90 spaces from 76.

No decision has been made on where Midland students will be housed during the razing and construction of the school, said John Collins, deputy superintendent.

Among the district's high schools, Poway High is expected to have the most work done with $36.8 million in renovations including fine arts and technical arts facilities, two two-story classroom buildings, remodeled library renovated and enlarges classrooms and labs and expanded food service area.

Poway High was built in 1962 for 2,200 students but enrollment exceeds 3,000. Baker said design plans call for scrapping many of the portable classrooms in remote areas of the campus and adding 100 parking spaces.

Mt. Carmel High, which was built in 1975, was designed for 2,200 students but enrollment is 2,780. In recent years enrollment had been as high as 3,500. Plans call for renovating and enlarging classrooms and labs including replacement of worn fixtures and flooring, renovating performing arts facilities and increasing electrical capacity. Mt. Carmel will also get a music and practice facility and permanent classrooms to replace portable ones.

Landscape changes at Mt. Carmel are designed to better identify the entrance to the school. Additions and renovations at Mt. Carmel are expected to cost about $34 million.

Westwood Elementary renovations, estimated at about $12.7 million, will include adding permanent classrooms to replace portables. The school was built in 1962 to accommodate 490 students. Current enrollment is about 900. Plans call for building a computer lab and multipurpose building. The old multipurpose building will be transformed into a library.

Meantime, work has begun on Stone Ranch Elementary in the 4S Ranch area. The 22nd elementary school in the district is designed to serve 700 students and will open in the fall of 2004.