Community Update 7-23-2019

Community Update 7-23-2019
This is the image for the news article titled Community Update 7-23-2019logoJuly 23, 2019

Dear Parents, Students, and Staff:

I write to provide you with an update on the District's recovery efforts at Richmond Elementary School following the earthquakes. A thorough and careful analysis of Richmond has led us to conclude that all District operations at Richmond during the 2019-20 school year must be relocated to the District's facility at Vieweg located at 348 Rowe Street.

As we hope you understand, the safety of students, staff, and the community remain among our highest priorities. Additionally, the emotional well being and sense of confidence of our students, families, and staff weigh heavily on the decision to channel our efforts on the Vieweg campus.

We have carefully reviewed all required repairs at Richmond and closely analyzed all options related to those repairs. In addition, we have reviewed all sources of funding and other resources and determined that, although that funding and those resources will substantially assist with structural repairs, funding is not available to repair significant cosmetic damage to the site. In fact, we have determined that it will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate all cosmetic damage from the earthquakes. We also expect that remaining cosmetic issues would substantially affect any visitor's sense of safety while visiting Richmond. Regrettably, all of our estimates reveal that the required repairs and other logistical issues will substantially increase the cost to return Richmond to a safe, comfortable learning and working environment for our students, staff, and community.

As you may know, for the past several years, the District has analyzed and recently gained approval for Department of Defense funding to replace Richmond with new construction. To that end, the District is committed to demolishing Richmond as a condition for the construction of new facilities. We are actually in the first stage of the new construction project with recent Board-approval for the professional services of a company to conduct environmental impact studies on three potential new-build sites. After carefully reviewing all necessary repairs for the existing Richmond site and conferring with personnel regarding those repairs, we have determined that, rather than expending millions of dollars and significant District resources to repair Richmond only to demolish those facilities in the near future, the needs of our students, staff, and community are best served by relocating all Richmond programs and activities to Vieweg.

In the past, we have used Vieweg to host several District programs.  Most recently, Vieweg served all Las Flores Elementary  students  while the District  modernized  that site.  Although Vieweg sustained damage through the earthquakes  and will require some repair, we are placing all available  resources to complete necessary  repairs  prior to the first day of school on August  13, 2019.   We also believe that dedicating resources to repairing Vieweg, which will continue to host various District programs and activities for years to come, remains in the best interest of our students, staff, and the community.

We realize that changes of this nature are disruptive to families and, throughout  our recovery efforts, we have attempted to limit disruptions to the greatest extent possible.  We deeply regret the need to relocate all of our Richmond  operations  to Vieweg,  but are committed  to doing  so in the  least disruptive  manner possible.    In a future  communication,  we will provide  additional  details  about  how we will  make the transition  from Richmond  to Vieweg.   Of course,  if you  have any questions  or concerns,  please do not hesitate to call me at (760) 499-1600.

As I noted in my prior correspondence, we understand  that many in our community  continue  to suffer significant  impacts from the earthquakes.   As always, we are committed to supporting the emotional needs of our students  and have made arrangements  to make counseling  services  available  during the summer months, as necessary.  Please feel free to contact the Student Support Services office at (760) 499-1700 to arrange counseling services for any student.

Further, staff are reminded of the District-provided  Employee Assistance Program ("EAP") that may be accessed at (800) 999-7222.  All staff are encouraged to contact EAP for assistance, as needed.

In closing, we will continue to be vigilant in ensuring the safety of District facilities prior to the start  of the 2019-20  school  year.   In addition,  we will continue  to keep  you informed  as our recovery efforts continue.  We deeply appreciate the support we have received from the community and the many public agencies  that have provided  assistance  to the District.   If you have been affected by the earthquakes, we wish you the best in your recovery and would be happy to provide the above-noted support if that would be helpful to you.

Dave Ostash, Ed.D.
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