The Beaumont school district will concentrate on plans to expand the current Beaumont High School site rather than explore the possibility of constructing a second high school.
The board held a special study session on Sept. 24 before its regular school board meeting to discuss options with Brock Smith, executive director of facilities.
Smith said that the current student population was 3,031, with a seating capacity of 3,321.
Smith said that the school district could expand the existing campus or look for land for a second school.
There are 89 acres available and 2,100 acres under development, Smith said.
“We have plenty of room to expand,” Smith said.
Two meetings were held on August 22 and Sept. 3. The first one discussed adding classrooms on the campus and classes in the Career Technical Education division. There also are decisions about adding a Welcome Center and expanding parking.
Smith said there are issues regarding students parking and drop off and adding an exit for easy access in and out of the parking lot.
The school board also needed to consider relocating the attendance office.
At the Sept. 3 meeting, there were representatives from CSEA (California School Employees Association), BTA (Beaumont Teachers Association), and staff from the Educational Support Facility and anyone affected by the proposed expansion.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Penni Harbauer managed that meeting and said there was discussion of space, capacity, parking and classroom sizes.
Superintendent Terrence Davis said that the board needed to make some important decisions immediately.
“As we grow, we need to be urgent and thank the team for pushing this forward,” Davis said.
Board president Steve Hovey said that the high school was 290 students away from capacity.
Hovey did not see the urgency for building a new high school. “I’m skeptical that we’ll even have the resources to do that,” Hovey said.
What he saw as important was additional classrooms and restrooms.
Trustee Janelle Poulter wondered about the community members who expressed their opinions of what they wanted. How many voiced their views, then may have changed their mind.
Would the school district get the word out to the community that what they wanted may not happen, Poulter asked?
It appeared that the community was in favor of a second high school, Poulter said.
Davis said that building a second high school could cost upwards of $300 million.
Smith talked about the phasing of the project. Phase One would include 30 classrooms, 300 students, a welcome center, additional parking, and an exit for dismissal from the student parking lot.
Phase Two would include 30 classrooms, the possibility of a new administration building that would be more centrally located, or two different administration buildings.
Phase Three would include 30 classrooms, charge vehicle pathway, future playfields or a physical education expansion.
A question was asked about portables and Smith said the earliest the school district could get them would be January 2021. He said that relocating portables would cost at least $150,000.
There are two types of portables and they last between 15 to 40 years, depending on the make and model, Smith said.
Trustee Susie Lara said she found it difficult to make a decision when the board needs to know more about the costs involved.
Davis said the board needs direction and to make their decision soon.
Trustee David Sanchez asked about hardship funding and Smith said that there is hardship funding at the state level.
Davis said there are Measure Z dollars available.
The board voted 4 to 1, with Brian Sylva absent, to contract with an architectural consultant and get some costs so they can start planning for the expansion.
Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.