Suggestions for the future of Bear Elementary School, which was closed in 1987, ranged at a community meeting this week from selling the property to reopening it as a school.
The meeting was called by a citizens’ committee set up by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District. The committee has been asked to make recommendations to the Board of Education on two properties: the Bear Street School, near the intersection of Paularino and Bear streets in Costa Mesa; and the Harper Elementary School site on 18th Street in Costa Mesa.
Since Bear Street School was closed, neighborhood children have been attending Paularino and Sonora elementary schools, and many of the residents at the meeting expressed concerns over the crowded conditions at Paularino.
“In the last three years, my wife has become very involved in the school, as a teacher’s aide,” explained Frank Masciale, whose family lives near the Bear Street site. “She knows that the classes are really kind of busting at the seams. . . . It just seems the logical alternative to open up the Bear street school.”
“I’ve seen situations like in Santa Ana and Brea where the city has sold off property, and then with expansion has found they could have used it,” he continued.
The committee is considering a number of options for disposition of the site, including sale and lease. A representative of the Orange County Junior League, who attended the meeting, expressed interest in housing the headquarters of the nonprofit agency at the school.
At the next meeting, public comments will center around the future of the Harper Community Center. The meeting is scheduled for Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the school board meeting room.