http://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2012/12/19/las-lomitas-district-examines-two-story-option


Almanac

Schools - December 19, 2012

Las Lomitas district examines two-story option

by Barbara Wood

Flexible-use two-story classrooms clustered around outdoor spaces could be used to reduce the squeeze put on the Las Lomitas Elementary School District by a 40 percent growth in the number of students during the last decade, if a plan previewed for the district's board on Dec. 12 is adopted.

The two-school district, for children in kindergarten through eighth-grade, needs to approve a facilities master plan as the first step in asking voters to consider a bond measure to finance construction.

"This is the beginning of a very, very long process," Superintendent Lisa Cesario told the board.

The conceptual plans presented to the board show that some current classrooms and other buildings would remain, while new two-story classrooms and multi-use rooms would be built on both campuses and all portable classrooms would be removed.

Consultants on the plan include Blach Construction, Architects of Achievement and WRNS Studio Architects.

In earlier meetings with the community and with teachers at Las Lomitas (K-3) and La Entrada (4-8) schools, all three groups chose more classroom space, innovations for 21st century learning, and green space as their top three priorities in the facilities plan.

The input resulted in conceptual plans, which, in addition to making permanent classrooms for all those new students, respond to changes that have taken place in education and include flexibility to meet future needs. Victoria Bergsagel from Architects of Achievement said planners looked at research about how children learn, how teachers are energized, and how to plan for ever-changing technology, as well as what is a "joyful and durable space."

More practical considerations include plenty of parking and sensitivity to neighbors.

Proposals that could be considered when the buildings are actually designed could include, according to Pauline Souza of WRNS Studio Architects, flexible workspaces with walls that move and can be written on; furniture that moves; walls that open to let spaces be either outdoor or indoor and other "places that support learning and curiosity."

Once a facilities plan is approved, the board would next vote to issue a bond and decide whether to go for a November 2013 or June 2014 vote. Only once a bond measure is approved would the actual plans for the schools be designed, and construction could probably not start, at the earliest, until the summer of 2015, Superintendent Cesario said.

She said that construction would probably have to be done in phases because fulfilling all of the district's desires would exceed the amount of a bond measure that the district could legally submit to voters. A study session on the facilities master plan is scheduled for Jan. 9, and will include discussion of phasing of construction and priorities, she said.

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