Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

Posts Tagged ‘Beach Elementary’

Learn More about the Proposed Beach Garden

Posted by Len Gilbert on May 18, 2011

First Havens, now Wildwood, Beach is the next Piedmont elementary school to be retrofit. Learn more about a proposal for the garden area that would integrate it into the campus.

Click the apple to view the presentation

Please review the proposed plan for the Beach Garden and add your comments at:

http://beachschoolgarden.com then click on the apple.

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What’s Going On?

Posted by Len Gilbert on September 18, 2009

Piedmont City Council: More Blair Park.

Monday, Sept 21st, 7:30pm City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue

Info, email addresses, agenda: http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/citycouncil/

Please join me in supporting the EIR process. The vote is only to continue with the EIR, not to approve Blair Park. I think it’s important to hear the real issues that an EIR will expose, rather than speculation from both sides of the issue.

crosswalk_signPlease also join me in urging the city to put a mid-block cross walk at the tennis courts, connecting Linda Beach Field and the Linda dog run. This area sees very high foot traffic from the dog run, playfield, tennis courts, tot lot and Beach Elementary going back and forth. This should have been done 3 or 4 years ago when both Beach field and the dog run were updated. Now is the time to fix the issue.

Linda Beach field is used by our children for soccer, baseball, lacrosse, tee ball, and softball. Primary groups are 5-9 year olds. There is a tot lot there, plus an elementary school. The block is extremely long and beckons for a med-block crossing. The area at the tennis courts/top of Linda Beach Field is about right to facilitate safer crossings for all facilities. The sightlines are good and the cost would be minimal.

PUSD School Board

Wednesday, September 23rd, City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue

Info and agenda: http://www.piedmont.k12.ca.us/board-of-education/meeting-materials

Measure E: Not much updating

Last update to the site was July 24th (as of this post).

Info: http://www.pusdbond.org/updates

My question from a previous post still isn’t answered. If PG&E made a mistake on the gas line under the Havens Schoolmates building, are they paying for the relocation to the Beach Playground? Accountability and communication seem to be lacking, yet again, in the Measure E process.

Posted in City News, Parks, Recreation, School | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Whats better than dad cooking pancakes Sunday morning?

Posted by Len Gilbert on September 18, 2009

How about pancakes and PAINTS Chalk for Peace?

BDC-pancake

The 4th annual Beach Dads Pancake Breakfast is this Sunday, Sept 20th at Beach Elementary. The Beach Dads Club has some extra help this year from the Havens “Grill Gurus”. Come for the pancakes, stay for the chalk.

Sunday, September 20th 9:00-12:00
Beach Elementary School
Kids $4, Adults $6

It’s Sunday morning and Dad is making pancakes. Don’t miss it!


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Portable Problems

Posted by Len Gilbert on August 25, 2009

I received this letter from PUSD superintendent Hubbard a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t write anything about it. I was too mad. The Piedmonter and the Post have covered the issue if you’d like more detail.Beach Portable

The short version: The school district has, yet again, made a Measure E related planning blunder, this one costing thousands of dollars to fix. I love adages, proverbs, saws, and maxims and “measure twice, cut once” is the one that comes to mind in this situation. Too bad the Measure E project managers don’t know that one.

As you read the letter below, keep in mind these points:

  • Who made the mistake on the gas line “abandonment”? Why was this not verified before the portable was moved and installed?
  • Who is paying to put an additional portable on the Beach blacktop because of this mistake?
  • Is the entity who made the error paying the costs? If not, why not?

Given that the replacement portable is already in place and all the traffic is now going to stop at the top, rather than the bottom of the hill, it seems now is the right time to put in a mid-block stop sign and cross walk. It’s overdue. The play field and the dog park both would benefit and it would slow traffic to the posted 25 mile an hour speed limit.

–L

Here is superintendent Hubbard’s letter from August 7, 2009.

—————————–

Dear Beach and Havens Families,

We are writing to provide an update on the plans to relocate Havens SchoolMates, and to provide assurance that the School District and City are working together to ensure that  SchoolMates for Havens and Beach students is in a safe and appropriate location and ready to operate its program starting August 26, the first day of the school year; and there will opportunity for parents, staff and neighbors to get information and provide input concerning the location options to accommodate all of the children in the SchoolMates program.

As you may know, the Havens SchoolMates building was scheduled to be relocated for the next two years to the far end of the Linda Beach Playfield, next to the Oakland Avenue bridge. The building will be used first by Havens SchoolMates, then Wildwood SchoolMates, during the time that the Havens and Wildwood Schools are relocated to Emeryville (the following year, when the Beach School is relocated to Emeryville, the Beach SchoolMates program will either relocate with or close to the Beach kindergarten classes). However, the School District confirmed that a 12″ high-pressure gas line below the site, previously identified as “abandoned” by PG&E, is in fact “active” and therefore makes the site unsuitable for the SchoolMates program.

In order to ensure that the SchoolMates program is ready for all students at the start of the school year, a SchoolMates building will be relocated, at least on a temporary basis, to the Beach blacktop. Although this change will reduce some of the play area immediately outside Beach School, we will work to best accommodate this change with minimal impact on our students and instructional programs.

The City and District are in the process of identifying options for a “permanent” (two-year) location for the SchoolMates building and will consider the options following the legally-required public notice and opportunity for comment by parents, staff and the neighbors. Many options have been explored and proven to be impractical or cost-prohibitive. Possible permanent locations still under consideration include, but are not limited to, leaving the SchoolMates
building on the Beach blacktop or moving the building to the City-owned tennis courts that are between the Beach School and the Beach field. The City and District will work together to reach a decision that is in the best interest of the community and makes the best use of community resources.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to seeing you and your students on August 26th.

Sincerely,

Constance Hubbard

Superintendent

Posted in City News, School | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Where to put the kids? What is fair?

Posted by Len Gilbert on November 24, 2008

The issue of Measure E interim student housing has become a bit of a hot topic around town. Various ideas for the location of temporary portables are being floated, including Witter Baseball field, Hampton Field, Coaches Field/Blair Park, Havens plus tennis courts (possibly throw in 801 Magnolia), and Beach Field. Each of these locations has a positive and negative side.

Measure E was positioned to retrofit our schools, not to build new ones. The Becker plan found a way to rebuild Havens using those funds and I think that’s a good thing. It is visionary to take what could have been functional, but uninspiring and figure out how to do something great for the community. However, the direct benefit, and therefore the bulk of the hardship, should be borne fairly and equitably.

So where should the portables be? What is fair and equitable?

Let’s look at Witter Baseball field. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m very pro-baseball and as a PBF board member, I know that losing Witter Baseball for 3-4 years will have a huge impact on the older players, but also ripple through community baseball and soccer programs of other age groups. However, when I take off my baseball hat and consider the issue as a Piedmont resident with school aged children, it seems to be not such a bad idea. It’s central, has plenty of room for portables, and keeps students (except Beach) generally close to their original schools. Witter baseball field adjoins Wildwood, PHS, and PMS and is about 4 blocks from Havens. (see this map to get an idea of the relative location of Havens, Wildwood, PMS, and PHS to the Baseball Field.) The main baseball diamond could be retained for practices as well as student use during the day. And while direct drop off via automobile is problematic, the central location means that walking to school is viable from most of Piedmont. Overall, this plan is better than many of the others. It keeps each school together in a centralized, walkable location.

Another option is Beach field, however this seems to be extremely weak proposal and not well thought out. This location is not easily walkable from most of Piedmont, so cars will be blocking Linda every morning and afternoon. Already there are traffic safety issues on Linda during school hours or soccer or baseball games. How would this be improved by adding to, possibly more than doubling, the student and teacher population there? Drop off and pick up would be a traffic nightmare. It also seems extremely unfair for Beach, which has the smallest amount of repair work needed, funds allocated, and improvements planned, to have to take the brunt of the interim housing effort for 3-4 years.

Hampton field is a decent choice, at least at first glance. It has four streets that come into a drop off point, has a large, contiguous field that could house portables, and also would allow for a small playground and basketball courts on site. Again, there are negatives. These include that the four approaches all meet at the same corner, so drop off would need some traffic coordination. Also, Hampton is very highly used by youth baseball, softball, soccer, as well as community tennis and basketball. If you think losing Witter baseball has a big impact on youth sports, imaging losing Hampton. The impact is much greater and directly affects a large pool of children aged 6-12.

Whew, what’s left? It seems there are still three or four options that won’t totally crater youth sports or put the burden on a school community who isn’t the primary beneficiary of the bulk of the Measure E construction. First is Witter Baseball Field, mentioned above. Aside from youth sports impact, it seems to offer the best location if the goal is to provide some continuity and community for displaced students. The field impact primarily affects 3 baseball teams. Second is Crocker Park. Yes, it’s not been considered, but it appears to be about as big as the Beach location and its temporary use would displace no youth sports or overburden one of the smaller elementary schools. Third is Coaches Field/Blair Park. The big negative here is traffic. However, the housing density is low compared to the other proposed locations, and if school walkers cross at Highland Avenue at the light, there is a separated sidewalk directly from Highland to Coaches field. The space to be considered should be all parking lot areas, the baseball field’s deep right field, and the corporation yard. Those three spaces alone allow for a huge area for portables, the baseball diamond as a field for school use, plus baseball, softball, and soccer could still use the field evenings and weekends. Parking for staff would be across Moraga in Blair park.

The final option is the one Drew mentioned in a previous post. “Flatten 801 Magnolia and put the PHS portables on that site and on Bonita from Magnolia to Vista. Once the Havens rebuild is complete, move the WW kids, and then the Beach kids, to the Havens portables.  Since there are (I think) about 40% fewer kids at WW and Beach than at Havens, there would be a need for fewer portables, so instead of portables taking up the whole play space, they could build the new field and all the kids would have a big field (and the brand new MPR) for PE, etc.”

None of these proposals are perfect. Each has enough drawbacks and problems to take it out of the running. Yet, we need to figure a way to get this work done quickly and safely, and most of all, fairly. I encourage you to participate in the discussion at two upcoming community meetings.

Dec 1, 7:30 pm, City Hall, Joint meeting of the City Council and Board of Education
Dec 10, 7:00 pm, City Hall, Regular meeting of the Board of Education

–L

Feel free to comment on this post. The purpose of this blog is discussion and debate for the Piedmont community and you are encouraged to participate in the conversation.

Posted in City News, Parks, Recreation, School, Youth Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »