Board will discuss moving forward with Service Center relocation

Claremont schools may soon be one step closer to having a new base of facility operations.

At the next meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education, set for Thursday, March 21, the board will vote on whether the district should hire Flewelling & Moody Architects to undertake a design study of the relocation of the district’s current Service Center. The contract would cost CUSD $19,820.

With the 3.5-acre Service Center property having been declared surplus by the board, the question is not whether the Service Center will be moved. The question is when it will be moved and to where.

The board made the unusual decision to declare the Base Line Avenue facility surplus while it was still occupied in order to take advantage of homebuilder DR Horton’s expressed interest in purchasing it. The Service Center is adjacent to a 4.35-acre parcel of surplus property on Mountain Avenue that the homebuilding company purchased from CUSD in February 2012 for $6.2 million. The Claremont City Council has authorized the conditional use permit and tentative tract map for a development of condos that DR Horton plans to build on that land, which is the site of CUSD’s former District Office.

Rick Cota, executive director of the Service Center, has emphasized a new Service Center could be significantly streamlined. The current Service Center facilities, including staff offices and warehouses, total about 12,000 square feet. That size was appropriate back when the facility was built, Mr. Cota noted. CUSD used to have its own fleet of buses tended by district mechanics and its own landscaping staff, with all of the associated equipment. What’s more, school supplies were once purchased in bulk and staged in warehouses. Now, the buses are gone and grounds maintenance is contracted out. Supplies are now ordered as needed and delivered to the respective school sites with the click of a button.

The new facility could be 5,000 square feet with some additional storage portables, plus an additional 2500-3000 square feet for parking, Mr. Cota said. At the February 11 school board meeting, Mr. Cota presented a proposal for a potential relocation of the Service Center on a portion of the San Antonio High School campus. While board member Hilary LaConte and a couple of community members expressed concern about such a placement spoiling beneficial green space for San Antonio students, his presentation was applauded for starting the conversation about the upcoming move.

Other items on the agenda for Thursday’s school board meeting include reports on the Single Plans for Student Achievements (SPSA) for El Roble Intermediate and Claremont High School. Mandated by No Child Left Behind legislation, an SPSA charts a schools progress toward academic and behavioral goals set the previous year and discusses new areas of focus.

The March 21 meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Richard S. Kirkendall Education Center, located at 170 W. San Jose Ave. in Claremont.

—Sarah Torribio








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