The Coast News Group

School board reviews new grounds design

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Rancho Santa Fe school board met the evening of Nov. 13 to tackle a big agenda, including a design update of the new R. Roger Rowe renovation project that will begin construction after this school year ends.
At the top of the meeting, however, special recognition was given to board member Ty Miller. It was the last board meeting for Miller, who is leaving after four years of service. Miller has been instrumental in seeing the new school renovation project come to fruition and will remain on
the design committee, seeing
the project through to completion. Board members and Superintendent Lindy Delaney bestowed kind words and recognition upon Miller, who was joined by his family. New to the board will be Jim Cimino, who has two children in the Rancho Santa Fe school system in grades four and six. Cimino will be sworn in at the next board meeting.
Debi Vaughn-Cleff, of Trittipo Architecture, presented a design update of the Rowe Renovation Project. As this was an open session, a dozen members of the public were there to see the progress of the new school’s design.
“We think we’ve got a grasp on this,” Miller, who sits on the design committee and is working with Trittipo architects, said. “We’re trying to come up with good design, doing the best we can with simple products, keeping everything within our budget.”
Design elements are very much in keeping with the Spanish Colonial Revival Style already existing in the Ranch, such as the Golf Club, the Association building, the Community Center, The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe and the downtown area, much of which was designed by architect Lilian Rice.
The school’s design has been an interactive process, too. Rowe teachers were surveyed and asked for their ideas and suggestions, which have been incorporated into play yards and other common areas. Reading circles on the lawn, mathematically challenging hopscotch patterns, and climbing structures will be part of the new school grounds. There are other interactive ideas on the table that are not currently in the budget, such as a timeline that stretches from one end of the campus to the other.
“We want to make walking from classroom to classroom and engaging experience,” Miller said. “Rather than a simple walkway, we want tiles that begin with the ‘big bang theory’ and progress through the evolution of science. Students would design tiles and have input on this walkway. It’s something we hope for the future, perhaps with the help of sponsors and donors.”
The highlight of the presentation was a work-in-progress design for a new Performing Arts Center. It would feature 3,400 square feet of multi-purpose area flanked by two music rooms, each at least 950 square feet, and a stage, complete with dressing areas, workrooms and a control room. Any stage performance would have seating for approximately 400 with acoustical elements that would direct sound efficiently. There is even ample fly space above and behind the stage for sets, backdrops and curtains. A catwalk will be built to make lighting design easier.
“There’s been a lot of good work done, and we thank you,” Delaney said. The next school board meeting is Dec. 11.