Under our noses, DMUSD submitted full construction plans weeks ago.

We’re sharing the full construction plans for the Del Mar Heights’ Rebuild – 319 pages.  

We recently obtained these plans – dated February 11, 13, and 28 – by public records request to the State of California, Division of the State Architect (DSA), the organization that gives final approval to all plans for public schools in California.

They were submitted by DMUSD under our noses weeks ago to the DSA for approval – even though there has been no public notice or public vote by the board of trustees to approve the plans.

It’s now clear the ship had sailed on the final Heights’ school design a long time ago and certainly before the last board meeting when our eyes and ears told us Rolf’s plan was still under review in a public setting. Appearances can be deceiving.

It’s especially disappointing to learn this when we were told by DMUSD staff in January that the only noteworthy thing they would be doing on the Heights’ rebuild before the February board meeting was filing environmental documents (CEQA).

Here’s proof:  this was the “Next Steps” slide presented at the January board meeting.


We were so stunned by this development that we went back and reviewed video of the February 26 meeting that we attended to make sure we hadn’t all been comatose and missed something. What we discovered on review was another troubling revelation.

At the February meeting, the facilities director said DMUSD staff had “just this week” met with DSA to discuss the Pacific Highlands Ranch new school project. Conspicuously omitted was the Del Mar Heights’ Rebuild DSA meeting that he had attended at DSA offices two days earlier with two DMUSD-hired architects, one DMUSD-hired structural engineer, and three DSA staff members – a total of seven people. He also omitted the April 1 follow-up meeting that was calendared for Del Mar Heights. We provide a link to minutes of the February 24 DSA meeting on the Del Mar Heights’ Rebuild at the end of this email.

No doubt, theories will abound as to how this unfolded behind the backs of the public. This cake was baked long ago, probably months. The district confidently sped forward to develop full-scale construction plans without any public vote by the trustees. Was that pure chutzpa with a “devil may care” attitude about trustee oversight, or had there been a wink-wink-wink from trustee to trustee that let them know there would be no downstream second-guessing? Or was this what actually transpired behind the scenes at that illegal December 10 board meeting that lasted for three hours?

We may never know. Public charade is the only certainty.

On March 25 the board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the site plan for the Heights’ school.  There’s no doubt it is a “legally required” public vote. But don’t kid yourself into thinking there’s doubt as to the outcome – or that your strictly enforced three minute allocation to speak might make a difference. The district’s plans are set. That means even the upcoming environmental review vote is a foregone conclusion, no matter how significant the public’s concerns might be.

The next step for Play Outside will be to comment on the Heights’ environmental document.  We will do it even though nobody at DMUSD is listening. I will share our comments in the next week and provide you an easy way to also comment. Stay tuned and stay healthy.

If you’d like to share your thoughts with the DMUSD board trustees, here’s a link that opens an email addressed to them. 

Board of Trustees

Click here for the full construction plans (Increments 1 and 2) and the February 24 meeting minutes.

Be sure to check out page 11 on Increment 2 of the plans for a nice summary of the numbers.  If you zoom these documents, the images stay clear down to the finest detail.

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