Cardiff School gets approval from National Park Service for boundary adjustment
The Cardiff School District has received final approval from both the California Office of Grants and Local Services and the National Park Service for the proposed boundary adjustment of the Cardiff School playfields, also known as George Berkich Park.
According to a news release, the district is now focused on the future, which is to continue rebuilding a “beloved” campus that has been a hub of the Cardiff community for over a century. The new school is now expected to be completely finished in the summer of 2021.
“We are thrilled to receive final OGALS/NPS approval, and we look forward to delivering a beautiful new school that has been promised to Cardiff voters since 2016,” said Cardiff School District Superintendent Jill Vinson.
The layout of the new school called for an encroachment onto the school playfields of less than 10 percent. Pursuant to a 1993 Land and Water Conservation grant agreement, any proposed changes to the playfields require state and federal approval of a boundary adjustment.
The district has been working with state and federal officials to redraw the boundary since learning of the agreement over two years ago. Construction on the first phase of the project has been underway since July 2019 and the district had agreed not to move forward with construction of the second phase until the issue was resolved.
The new campus plan will keep the majority of the playfields intact while adding enhancements to improve functionality for educational programs, as well as student and community use purposes. It will also provide the space necessary to build a safer pick-up/drop-off area for students and a multipurpose room that will be located at the front of the school for increased campus security and access to designated parking.
The boundary adjustment was at the center of a lawsuit filed against the district last year by the neighborhood group Save the Park Build the School. In the lawsuit, Save the Park alleged taxpayer waste of bond funds and a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and construction was halted for three months until the parties reached a settlement in March.
The lawsuit did not result in any changes to the project design.
The district said numerous delays, including the undertaking of a full Environmental Impact Report due to the threat of litigation and the injunction stopping all construction, as well as the legal fees and the $500,000 settlement with Save the Park, have altered the project’s timeline, scope and budget.
According to the district, classroom buildings that were originally planned have had to be tabled for the future and the construction delay means students will not be able to occupy the new buildings at the start of the school year as originally scheduled. Some students will remain housed at Ada Harris School until they can transition back to the new campus.
For more information on the project and construction updates, visit cardiffschools.com/measureGG.
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