Cardiff School District reveals final school design plans

Cardiff School District has presented the final site plan to rebuild and remodel Cardiff School. The project is part of a $22 million bond measure passed by 66 percent of Cardiff voters in November 2016.

Finalized and presented to the school board, the design was a result of extensive public outreach that brought teachers, students, parents and the community-at-large together to collaborate on the rebuilding and remodel of 55 plus-year-old school.

“Balancing the desires of our stakeholders was very important to us,” explained Cardiff School District Superintendent Jill Vinson. “We held a number of public meetings and workshops about the plan and accommodated feedback where we could, while always keeping our students’ safety, security and learning environment in the forefront of our minds.”

The final site plan has evolved from the original design concept presented last fall in the following ways – relocation of the kindergarten classrooms and courtyard from the north field to the existing campus footprint by tightening the building layout, resized and reoriented the location of the multipurpose room, and shortened the length of the drop off/pickup zone in the front of the school. The district continues to develop the design and layout of the hardcourt and apparatus areas.

The development of the final site plan was also guided by six key goals, which included creating a safe and secure environment; prioritizing learning spaces; improving traffic flow and safety for pick-up; connecting the school to the community; prioritizing green space and views; and emphasizing sustainability and environmentally focused design.

“We are thrilled that the new Cardiff School will uphold these six key goals and reflects much of the input we received throughout the process – all while maintaining the Cardiff charm and vibe that makes this campus so special,” Vinson added.

Some of the key features of the new school plan include:

  • Locating off-street student drop-off and pick-up zone near the front office for added security and student safety
  • Relocating the multipurpose room near the front office and adjacent to fields and parking in order to meet programmatic needs, increase supervision and security, and facilitate public access during and after school hours
  • Resizing the multipurpose room to accommodate the entire study body;• Relocating student assembly seating adjacent to multipurpose room and fields
  • Reworking field and playground layout for better line-of-sight supervision and safety and more functional school and public use after school hours and weekends
  • Maintaining secondary designated drop-off and pick-up areas to reduce congestion
  • Keeping existing community dog park and school garden
  • Optimizing indoor/outdoor learning environments
  • Moving the historic Cullen Bell near the student assembly area.

Over the next year, the district will advance pre-construction activities such as permitting and reviews with all required state and local agencies. Currently, the district is addressing the compliance of a Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant that was entered into in 1993 for the purpose of enhancing the school playfields, known as George Berkich Park. The California State Parks Office of Grants and Local Services is guiding the district through the process it has established to meet the changing needs of grant recipients in order to maintain compliance with grant requirements.
It is anticipated that construction will begin summer 2019 and will take about 18 months to complete.

The school will go through the following phases as part of the construction period:

  • Development Phase: Present - June 2019. Plans will be finalized and construction documents approved by the Department of State Architects. During the 2018-2019 school year, kindergarten, first, second and two classes of third-grade students will remain at Cardiff School in existing buildings. Three third grade classes and fourth through sixth grade will remain at Ada Harris. Some modernization work, including electrical upgrades and improvements on the portables will occur at Ada Harris June through August 2018.
  • Phase 1A: June 2019 through August 2019. Construction at Cardiff School begins. The current parking lot and one classroom building will be demolished and a new parking lot and an enlarged, off-street drop-off/pick-up zone will be constructed.
  • Phase 1B: August 2019 through August 2020. All second through sixth-grade students will be housed in existing classrooms at Ada Harris. Kindergarten and first-grade students will remain at Cardiff School in 10 existing classrooms. The remaining classrooms and the multi-purpose room will be demolished and new classrooms, a kindergarten courtyard (which includes classrooms, eating and play areas, and Extended Day), a multi-purpose room, music classroom, and the lunch serving and eating area will be constructed.
  • Phase 2: June 2020 through December 2020. All Kindergarten, first and second grade students will move into the newly constructed classrooms at Cardiff School. The remaining old classrooms will be demolished and reconstructed and the blacktop area, play equipment, and play fields will be developed. All third through sixth-grade students will remain at Ada Harris for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • August 2021: Cardiff School will be completed and, as space allows, will house all Kindergarten through third-grade students. Ada Harris will house all 4th-6th grades.

Ada Harris School, also in the Cardiff School District, will receive some lighting fixture upgrades to increase energy efficiency beginning this summer using Prop 39 funds.
The district will continue to provide information to stakeholders to ensure students, parents and voters are informed as Measure GG projects progress. More information may be found at

— Submitted news release