The placement of a portable school room at Ocean Park Elementary is a perfect example of how conversations, questions, education and respect go a long way in resolving issues.
Ocean Beach School District recently adopted a reconfiguration plan to better serve students and the district. How that came to be was well covered in the newspaper and the plan, which came about with considerable community input, was well supported. An important factor to its implementation was adding a portable building to the Ocean Park Elementary campus.
As work plans for this progressed, a stumbling block occurred. Due to easement issues, the permits required by Pacific County would only allow the building to be placed at the front of the school. It was not long before news of this spread and needless to say, the prospect of a portable plunked in front of the beautiful and expensively redesigned school was met with discontent. It was not what was expected.
Education on the site problems, questions researching all possible options and respectful conversations revealed information on precedent. These conversations also covered the concerns of student safety accessing the building, bus loading and unloading, parking and community (aka taxpayers) expectations. It should be noted that a capital levy is in process of being voted on and that levy contains funding for this project along with security upgrades at all OBSD school buildings.
Scott Fenter, previously the OBSD interim superintendent and currently acting as a consultant during the implementation of the reconfiguration plan, along with OBSD Maintenance Director Chris Patana, worked diligently to resolve the unexpected permitting problems. As recently as April 8, they were marking off measurements on the school property in search of an answer that would satisfy the county. At a meeting with county officials two days later, and with a new proposal in hand, resistance was minimal. Fenter left feeling that approval to place the building on the south side would most likely be given.
Members of Village Club would like to thank Scott Fenter and Chris Patana for their work pushing this forward. We feel confident that solutions will be found that allow county officials to approve the south side placement of the portable building.
BONNIE COZBY, Village Club Chair
JERRY HERR, Village Club Vice-Chair
KAREN STEPHENS, Village Club Secretary