ENCINITAS — The boarded-up Pacific View School site will soon see some changes. A $25,000 county grant will provide seed money for initial improvements that will transform the closed facility into a community arts center.
The Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance (EACEA) and Encinitas Historical Society recently got the good news that they were awarded the county Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant.
EACEA has a one-year agreement, with a possible extension, to maintain the city site, which is two blocks from the ocean.
The alliance works closely with the historical society, which occupies the historic schoolhouse on the same property and is the alliance’s fiscal sponsor.
EACEA is finalizing its own nonprofit status, and securing insurance coverage. Steve Barilotti, EACEA communications and fundraising director, said organization infrastructure will be completed about the same time grant funds become available in August.
Currently the former school site, which closed in 2003, is boarded and locked. One classroom is used for district storage. The asphalt schoolyard is leased on a monthly basis to a glass company and a towing company.
Plans are to put the $25,000 grant toward the repair of windows, and reconfiguring the perimeter fence to extend around the historic 1883 schoolhouse.
“It’s basic maintenance fixes to start the process,” Barilotti said.
Future plans are to evaluate the site and finalize plans for complete renovations.
Fundraising for center operations and additional improvements has already begun. Encinitas Rotary Wine and Food Festival helped raise money earlier this month. More fundraising is planned.
The first goal is to raise $50,000 for a one-year operating budget.
By next year a $2 million crowd sourcing campaign will be launched to secure funds for extensive building and grounds improvements. Once $500,000 is reached work can begin.
Barilotti said in the meantime the site will be cleaned up, and outdoor space will be used for events and classes while fundraising is underway. The goal is to keep the community involved during the renovation process.
“We see the potential for a world-class arts, culture and ecology center on the ocean,” Barilotti said.
Future improvements will reclaim the grounds, plant a variety of gardens and repurpose former classrooms for community meeting spaces and arts instruction.