2/2/20: The Next Chapter for Pacific View

Last week the Encinitas City Council tackled only one issue – a reassessment of how to activate the Pacific View school site as a cultural arts center. The city has had an “exclusive negotiating agreement” with the Encinitas Arts, Culture and Ecology Alliance, also known as EACEA, which is a nonprofit comprised of local artists, community groups, and cultural supporters.

The Pacific View campus as seen from the air in February, 2014, just before the city purchased the property from the Encinitas Union School District, narrowly avoiding an auction sale to developers. The school site is behind (east) of the homes on the bluff, with an “L” shaped building and big parking lot. In the northwestern corner is the 1883 Schoolhouse and the Encinitas Historical Society. (Photo courtesy of SavePacificView.org.)
 

The school site has historic and community significance, with many locals having attended it before it was closed in 2003, reportedly due to low enrollment. Development patterns have resulted in schools opening in newer neighborhoods to the east, while some older schools like Pacific View that are located closer to the ocean have closed.  

We held a workshop-like City Council meeting at the Encinitas Community & Senior Center with five members of the EACEA board (seen at left in the lower photo), your five elected officials (center and above), and city staff members (seen on the right). About 70 members of the public attended, with several addressing the meeting.

The goal was to have a more open-ended and wide-ranging conversation about where things are going. At the end of the meeting, we decided to do a community survey, along with outreach to nearby neighbors, to get a better sense of what specific activities the community desires on that property.  Staff will also come back to us with information about the cost of getting the site up to minimum safety and occupancy standards so that there could be more short-term uses that are within the currently allowed zoning.

Speaking personally, I want to preserve the mid-century school buildings themselves and repurpose them for beneficial use instead of tearing them down. I believe they have historic and aesthetic value as part of the evolution of our city.
 
The EACEA, using volunteer labor and donated supplies, has done a great deal of repair, landscaping, site improvement and cleaning. I’m grateful and inspired by the outpouring of interest in the site over the last five years from community members. It’s that type of commitment that results in positive change. 

We still need to determine the roles for the city, EACEA and/or other community or non-profit groups. I’m looking forward to the next chapter. 
 
Here’s the Encinitas Advocate story, and an audio-only recording from the meeting can be heard here.

Salad Wars 2020: May The Farm Be With You

This week I was fortunate to be one of four judges for the Encinitas Union School District’s “Salad Wars 2020.”

Farm Lab, located on Quail Gardens Drive and run by the school district, is truly incredible. Sixth graders from Capri Elementary School spent all week at the farm, creating salad dressings from ingredients grown on site, then bottling, imaginatively naming, marketing and presenting the dressings.

Then they pitched their products to the judges with four bilingual presentations, and we tasted each dressing while hearing explanations of the health benefits of the ingredients. One of the most impressive parts was the seamless Spanish translations. Capri is one of the district’s bilingual schools, offering dual-language immersion programs with the goal of sixth graders being fluent in both English and Spanish. The integration of this bilingual ethic into the curriculum, even outside at the farm, was notable.

And the winner was … Kobe’s Dunkin’ Dressing! The Capri students also included all sorts of puns and references to the late Kobe Bryant into their marketing and presentation. Moonlight Magic, Champion Salad and Cardiff Cooks all came in very close.

The students’ creativity, poise, attention to detail, artistic and musical ability, language fluency and teamwork was on impressive display at this delightful presentation. I’m so proud of them and our city’s excellent schools.

I hope you have a great week, and don’t forget to eat your greens!

In service,