What happened at the January 22 board meeting – Rolf’s design and 78,000 sf

First, a great big thank you to everyone who attended and spoke for the fields and a better process at last Wednesday’s DMUSD board meeting! You are an incredible group and I’m happy to count myself as one of you.

This email shares the key takeaways from the board meeting.

1.  Majority. Once again, most of the people who spoke advocated for a better, more open, more honest process – and for larger fields.

2.  Rolf’s design. The most exciting part of the meeting from our perspective was Rolf Silbert presenting his alternative design that would more than double the fields without changing the district’s building designs in any way. The district denied his request for 15 minutes to make a full presentation, but Rolf did a great job making do with the three minutes he’s guaranteed by law.

When he presented, there was a buzz about the room – clearly there’s interest in this design that seems to improve the end result for everyone. We could tell people were hungry for more information and could hear the questions people were asking down the rows of chairs. Those of us who had taken the time to review the design beforehand did our best to answer questions and to let people know more information (and Rolf’s full slide deck) would be available on our website, which it now is. In fact, it’s the most visited part of our website over the last few days. CLICK HERE to review it.

The board didn’t ask any questions, but did say they would have their architects take a look.

3. New District Design. The other big item was the new district design, which the district said increased the fields by 16,000 square feet.

Before we look into that, let’s set the baseline. The red path in the next image shows the fields today at the school are about 160,000 square feet – not less than 126,000 as the district presently claims.

Del Mar Heights’ Fields Today – About 160,000 sf

It’s great that the district enlarged the proposed new field! That’s the first real movement we’ve seen since the public demanded changes in September. The new fields aren’t 92,000 square feet as the district claims, but they have increased to 78,000 sf. They are now approaching the 79,000 sf that the district claimed in September 2019 in the Del Mar Times – when the public outcry started. They are 49% the size of today’s fields and would still become the district’s smallest fields, 50,000 square feet less than the district average field size today.

As proof of our numbers, the next image shows the 78,000 sf measurement on the January 22 design, courtesy of Google Earth. You can see the field (inside the red path) properly excludes the granite path, the boulders, the garden, and the tree trunks.

January 22 design proposed fields – 78,000 sf

The next image shows you how the district falsely claims 92,000 square feet: by improperly counting the granite path around the fields, the boulders, the garden, and the tree trunks.

District improperly counts granite path, boulders, garden, and tree trunks to get 92,000 – an exaggeration of 14,000 sf

The district switched to including non-field items in its square footage starting with its November 20 site plan. The district continues to mislead us in the new design by: (1) counting the previously excluded decomposed granite path and boulders around the field as grass, adding 8,829 sf, (2) counting the previously excluded garden as grass, adding 2,662 sf, and (3) counting the tree trunks as field-game playable areas, adding 2,468 sf. That is how they stair-step up to their advertised new number of 92,213 square feet, a 14,000 sf exaggeration.

We explain it in more detail on our website: CLICK HERE. 

One final point – the district now says overall green space at the Heights will actually increase in the January 22 design from 126,367 square feet (which is wrong) to 127,824 square feet (also wrong). Those statements are perhaps even more misleading than the field math above, but we’ll address them in a separate post.

We’ll have more to share in the coming days. Thanks for supporting the effort to save the fields for the kids of today and tomorrow.

Please take a minute to share this post NOW with friends, supporters, and people who want to stay informed.  It’s your efforts that have enlarged community awareness of this important cause.

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