Built in 1977 and passed over amid a wave of bond-funded refurbishment projects three decades later, College View School is now poised for a multimillion-dollar makeover that Glendale Unified officials say will enable the district to better serve its severely disabled students.
School board members on Tuesday picked apart four potential construction projects with price tags ranging from $11.6 million to $19.4 million that would dramatically reshape the site. It will be among the first projects funded by Measure S, a $270-million school bond passed by voters in April 2011.
College View, located on Mountain Street directly across from Glendale Community College, currently enrolls 75 special education students from Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and Burbank, said Principal Jay Schwartz.
When its doors opened in 1977, its round shape and open floor plan reflected the latest in special education research. But the campus did not see any improvements after Measure K, a $186-million school bond, passed in 1997.
Today, district officials say the single-story facility is ill-suited for teaching students real-life skills, including how to open and close doors, and how to use standard public restrooms. It lacks sufficient lighting and storage, as well as therapy and treatment areas. And there are virtually no spaces for confidential meetings.
“There aren’t a lot of doors and walls,” said Assistant Supt. for Special Education Amy Lambert. “It is basically a large circle, so there is not a lot of confidential office space for people needing to make phone calls and hold [individual education plan] meetings.”
Two of the four construction options presented Tuesday included the modernization and expansion of the existing facility. A $17.7-million option called for complete demolition and ground-up construction of a single-story facility with improved therapy areas, playground visibility and restrooms.
The $19.4-million option adds a second level with four classrooms that could house an advanced secondary education program — dubbed Middle College — the district hopes to launch in collaboration with Glendale Community College.
“This allows the facility to be integrated, so that you have different types of students all in one facility,” said Gary Moon, of TBP Architects.
Schwartz and Lambert said that they would like to see traditional students integrated into the site, not least because the California Department of Education favors sites that mix the two. That could factor into any future grants that the district might apply for from the state.
“I think if we were hedging our bets in terms of longevity, just having the ability to put some typical peers on that campus…would probably be an asset to that site,” Lambert said.
College View students would benefit from a more standard facility, Schwartz said.
“In 1977, Glendale built a school specifically for this kind of student,” Schwartz said. “I really think we really need to build a school for these kids, but that can be used for various other purposes as well.
The four sets of construction plans will return to the board for a formal vote later this month. Greg Krikorian said he was in favor of the $17.7-million option, noting that the Middle College concept is still in the preliminary planning stage.
But others voiced support for the $19.4-million project, given that it would give the district the space it needs if and when Middle College High School materializes, they said.
It also isn’t much more expensive than the alternatives, board Vice President Christine Walters said.