BONSALL UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
BONSALL HIGH SCHOOL
BUSD is proposing a new high school facility to serve existing and projected students within its boundary. The high school would be located on a 49-acre vacant site owned by the District that is approximately 0.4 miles north of the intersection of State Route 76 and Gird Road.
Current BUSD high school students attend school in a two-story building and portable classrooms located on a portion of the 17-acre Sullivan Middle School site. As a shared campus, the site cannot accommodate the typical range of high school facilities and programs recommended by the California Department of Education (CDE) school site selection criteria. The proposed new high school facility would serve students in grades 9-12 with a maximum enrollment of 1,500 students at full build-out, relieving overcrowding at Sullivan Middle School and accommodating future projected student growth.
The proposed state-of-the-art high school would provide approximately 150,000 square feet of building floor area and 21 acres of recreational fields, hardcourts, parking, and landscape/hardscape. Onsite parking would be provided for staff and student vehicles and include a bus parking area for up to 12 buses. The high school would be used on occasional weekends and weekdays during non-school hours for community/sporting events but would not include stadium seating or athletic field lighting as part of the project.
The first phase of the project is anticipated to begin construction in 2020 and operation in 2022, initially housing up to 500 students. The second phase of the project is anticipated to begin construction in 2026 and operation in 2028, housing up to 1,500 students.
In 2016, an initial site evaluation conducted by the CDE found the proposed site is suitable for a high school. The Department of Toxic Substances Control also determined that the site is clean and requires no further investigation. Final site approval by CDE would be required after completion of the environmental review process and approval of the project by BUSD.
Funding for the construction of the proposed high school would come from local sources as well as potential State matching funds. The first phase of the high school would potentially be funded with a general obligation bond, which has been placed on the ballot on November 6, 2018. Under current State funding regulations, phase 1 would potentially generate approximately $9 million in State matching funds. With respect to phase 2 funding, currently, there are five housing projects with approved plans within the BUSD’s boundaries. If these developments are built, they would generate enough students to require phase 2 of the high school. These developments are currently forecasted to generate approximately $8.3 million in developer fee revenue potentially available to BUSD. The $9 million in State matching funds plus the $8.3 million in developer fees potentially results in a total of $17.3 million available for the high school project, which based on current construction cost estimates would likely be sufficient to fund the construction of phase 2.
Environmental Review Process
In February 2018, BUSD released a Draft Environmental Impact Report on the proposed high school for a 45-day review period (February 5 – March 22) in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. BUSD received written comments from members of the public and state and local agencies. In response to the written comments on the Draft EIR, as well as feedback obtained through additional community outreach, BUSD is in the process of revising the high school site plan and the Draft EIR. Revisions include updates and clarifications to the technical reports previously circulated for public review, as well as additional reports on fire safety and alternative project sites considered.
Key components of the environmental analysis include:
Visual Impacts/Aesthetics. Due to intervening topography and vegetation, as well as modern building design and high-quality landscaping, the Draft EIR concluded that impacts to viewpoints would not be significant. The Revised Draft EIR will include visual simulations from the four identified public viewpoints.
Site Access/Traffic Measures. Access to the proposed project site would include a new driveway on Gird Road with an onsite turn-around loop for student pick-up/drop-off and a traffic signal at the project entrance to accommodate buildout of the school. A secondary emergency access on Gird Road, separate and remote from the primary access, would also be provided. The environmental analysis in the Revised Draft EIR will be updated to include the secondary emergency access road. BUSD would contribute funds to the County of San Diego Transportation Impact Fee program for improvements at the intersection of Old River Road and Camino Del Rey to mitigate its share of impacts from development in the area.
Fire Safety. Prior to project approval, a Fire Protection Plan prepared by a fire protection planner will be submitted to the North County Fire Protection District to demonstrate that the project would comply with the San Diego County Consolidated Fire Code and would not expose people or structures to a significant risk involving wildland fires based on conformance with applicable fire and building codes. The Fire Protection Plan will be included in the Revised Draft EIR. The project would also include a Construction Fire Prevention Plan, fire apparatus access roads, and fuel modification and defensible space. Though not required under the applicable fire codes or by the North County Fire Protection District, the secondary access on Gird Road would provide an additional means of fire apparatus ingress or egress during an emergency.
Biological/Natural Resources. The proposed high school site contains mostly non-native grassland dominant habitat that is heavily disturbed. In compliance with North County Fire Protection District requirements, these areas are mowed or grazed annually by BUSD for fuel abatement. The project has been designed to avoid impacts to jurisdictional waters protected under state and federal laws as well as mature coast live oak trees. Sensitive plant and animal species having the potential to occur on site were determined not to be present by a qualified biologist. Potential impacts to sensitive habitat and species on adjacent properties would be avoided or reduced to less than significant levels through restrictions on construction during the breeding/nesting season and various noise control measures included in the Draft EIR.
Site Selection Analysis. BUSD has retained the San Diego County Office of Education, Education Facility Solutions Group to prepare an independent site evaluation of the eight potential sites for a new high school considered by a local realtor and the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee in 2017. The evaluation will focus on the suitability of these sites based on CDE site selection requirements for high schools and will be included in the Revised EIR as part of the alternatives analysis required under CEQA.
Once the revisions to the Draft EIR and technical reports are completed, BUSD intends to recirculate the Draft EIR for review by the public and agencies. Thereafter, the Final EIR with responses to comments and the proposed project would be considered by the BUSD Board of Directors for approval.