Revised Cardiff plans seen as compromise

ENCINITAS — Cardiff School District recently unveiled a redesigned concept for its overhaul of Cardiff Elementary School’s campus that district officials called a “positive compromise” with residents. 

The community earlier this fall expressed concern with the district’s first proposal, which called for the school’s multi-purpose room and kindergarten classrooms to be placed on land that is currently part of the district-owned George Berkich Park.

While the district defended the layout, which they said would make the campus safer and better suit the students’ needs, a group of residents said the redesign was a radical departure from what residents though they were getting when they voted for the bond measure that is paying for the redesign, Measure GG. 

The district on Nov. 16 unveiled a new redesign that moves the kindergarten classrooms from the front of the school in the first proposal to the campus’ northeastern edge.

School district officials said this was directly the result of feedback they received from residents at an October workshop, in which residents came out in force to urge the school board to change course. 

“We believe the revised conceptual site plan is a positive compromise, allowing the district to address the wishes of most constituents, while still meeting our highest priorities; the education program needs and the security and safety of our students,” said district Superintendent Jill Vinson.  “Our team considers the rebuild of Cardiff (Elementary) School to be an honor and a privilege. We understand that Cardiff (Elementary) School is an integral part of the Cardiff community, and we hope to provide a high-quality learning environment that everyone will be proud of.”

The redesign also eliminates a proposed pick-up and drop-off area on San Elijo Avenue, but maintains one at the corner of Montgomery and Mozart avenues. The baseball field would still be eliminated under the proposal, which school district officials said would allow them to join the two grass fields, currently separated by playground equipment, to create a longer, contiguous field that could be host two soccer matches.

Residents who attended the workshop applauded the district for listening to residents, but some expressed concern that more work needed to be done on the proposal. 

Tiana Hejduk, one of the more vocal opponents of the original redesign, said she still wasn’t in favor of the new proposal because it still calls for a portion of the park to be eliminated to make way for the multi-purpose room.

She and her father, George Hejduk, said voters would not have voted for the bond measure if they knew it included the elimination of park space. 

“No matter how you look at it, Measure GG says nothing about taking any park space away,” Hejduk said. “I just feel like they are duping the public.

“We have an award-winning school that has worked thus far, why do we have to do this now?” she asked. 

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