WUSD facilities meeting

Dot matrix — Members of the Windsor Unified School District Board of Trustees use sticky dots to identify their facilities priorities for the next five years.

Photo Heather Bailey

On Sept. 10, the Windsor Unified School District Board of Trustees came together with other stakeholders, after their regular school board meeting, for the third workshop meant to help identify, categorize and prioritize future facilities plans for the district.

“We started this conversation in July as a result of reconfiguration and a need to look at facilities and the available site at Windsor Creek Elementary,” said Superintendent Brandon Krueger, who was leading the workshop. “We began this conversation to see what are the needs of all sites and properties owned by the district. We were only able to get through the Windsor Creek discussion and a couple of items that came up about other campuses (that first time) and we spent three hours (on Sept. 7), looking at the remainder of the sites we did not to get to talk about in July. We did not finish, (and that) is where we are today.

“We have compiled a list of all items that came up to look at and take the board through. Different ideas and conversation have come up, and we’ll be using these using dots to determine how do we begin to prioritize items to investigate as we’re trying to make up a five-year facilities plan,” he finished.

The basic methodology of the evening was a presentation of the facilities issues that had been brought forward, which were in term placed on large posters around the room. Then, each board member was given five sticky dots to place at the items they should be prioritized. The items with the most dots would move to the top of the priority list. The other items would not be discarded, but would fall farther down the list.

The ideas brought forward at the previous two meetings are as follows:

At Windsor Creek: repurpose the campus for potential alternative education site (including moving the North Bay Met Academy there) and/or place the district office there; turn the facility into employee housing, or lease the facility out.

At Mattie Washburn: expanding the before and after school programs and facilities for in house child care.

At Brooks Elementary: Acquisition of additional space in Hall Park, including moving the fence.

At Cali Calmecac: Portable replacement (already on the Measure F priority list) and discussing/evaluating the potential for moving 6-8 grade to the Windsor Middle School campus. The idea is two-fold: one is to create more space for the lower grades and the continuously compacted charter school, the other is to allow the upper levels of Cali access to the copious elective classes and other opportunities the WMS students enjoy.

At Windsor High School: Adding an additional multistory classroom building in the open space near the small gym; acquiring additional land adjacent to the high school for additional classroom and athletic space; expanded office and conference room space (and here a student who was present told an amusing story about how the counselors use white noise machines at their office doorways to help keep conversations private in cramped conditions, leading a section where “the whole hallway sounds like the ocean”); and adding a new dance room.

North Bay Met Academy: As mentioned above, relocating the facility to a larger campus, likely at Windsor Creek, and allowing WHS to expand into the additional classrooms.

The Annex (which houses transportation and maintenance offices and equipment): Getting it appraised for potential resale, as its proximity to the railroad spur may make it valuable due to the approach of the SMART train. It was pointed out however, that the current inhabitants like the location of the annex and find it ideal for the needs of those departments located there.

The District Office: Joint municipal use with other agencies (including the possibility of the town building a multi-story building and having the district occupy a floor of it) and various plans for selling, leasing or trading the current facility. Much of this conversation is related to the town’s plans for the continued development of the Town Green, including relocating the town office, town hall, the school district, the police department and Huerta Gym.

In addition, there were two items which were on the list for discussion but are already underway as part of the current phase of bond sales: portable replacement at Mattie Washburn and the expansion and upgrading of the science classrooms and lab space at the high school.

Finally, a few additional items for consideration were added to the list, including: A covered lunch area at the high school; possible team rooms/additional PE facilities; and redoing the athletic field at the middle school into an all weather surface both for the students and to create revenue generation by local sports leagues. (Windsor Middle School principal Brian Williams called it the Windsor Everglades).

After significant discussion, the items that garnered the most dots included: The repurposing of Windsor Creek, expanding Mattie Washburn’s extended child care; the Windsor High School land purchase; joint use district office possibilities and the stadium improvements, including tam rooms and additional facilities. Also garnering dots were the possibility of splitting up the Cali Calmecac upper and lower grades, though it was made clear that no such action would be taken unless it came from within the Cali community.

Chief Business Officer Lois Standring was also asked to see if the idea for a covered lunch area at the high school could be achieved by the recently-approved solar project. The project already had plans for the canopy-type installation over the parking lots and other areas. The idea was floated that they could be installed in an area of the campus that would allow them to be used as a cover lunch area at no additional cost to the district.

The plan going forward is for the choices to be distilled and ranked, and for the financial aspects to be brought forward and calculated. One challenge is that several of the items require the cooperation and/or involvement of the town or other entities, making timelines difficult to assess or plan for. 

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