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Construction Update: July 13, 2019

Thank you for your continued interest and support of the Cardiff School rebuild. In late June, the construction team mobilized and took control of the school site to begin their work.

 Over the last two weeks, the construction team has started:

  • Demolition of all 60-70 year-old existing classroom and multi-purpose buildings on site (Administration building with two attached classrooms to remain. Eight portable classrooms to remain until completion of new classrooms.)
  • Installation of main underground utilities

The Cardiff School District Office has also been temporarily relocated to Ada Harris until the middle of August, due to construction.

Photos of Construction Progress

Here are several photos showing construction progress on site. The construction contractor will also post live photos of project construction on their website.

 current construction photos

Tree Removal

There have been some questions in the community about the removal of trees as part of construction. We want to clarify the process related to this issue.

The District has been committed to keeping as many trees as possible on the school site. The District has worked closely with its architect, landscape architect, arborist and contractor throughout the process. The design identifies many existing trees to remain and be protected in place. Some trees are being relocated and some trees are being removed.

About Planned Tree Removals

Before construction started, the District prepared a comprehensive landscaping plan, which serves as a blueprint to address, in detail, existing trees and new landscaping features on the project site. This included an assessment by the District, its construction contractor and a registered arborist on the existing landscaping and trees on site.

It was determined by the team that a number of trees should be removed for the following reasons:

  • Invasive species:  Some trees were removed because they have an invasive root structure and can cause issues with water and sewer infrastructure. Many of these trees also impacted school operations, with excessive sap, seeds and leaves in storm drains and on school site.
  • Health of the trees:  Some were unhealthy while the structural integrity of other trees was identified by the arborist as a concern.
  • Safety:  Unhealthy trees can be unstable and fall over or have branches fall without warning, which could pose a safety issue for students, teachers, parents and community members who visit the school site.
  • Location of trees:  Some trees and their complex root systems were located near future utilities or buildings anticipated in the school rebuild.  

 This information was included in the District’s submittal of construction plans to the City of Encinitas, as part of the process of obtaining the Coastal Development Permit.

About Unplanned Tree Removal

During construction unforeseen conditions can arise. In one instance during the demolition of a retaining wall and adjacent building located in the northeast corner of the site, it was discovered that, due to an existing retaining wall and adjacent slope, a Torrey Pine lacks root structure on one side of the tree. In addition, proposed construction of a new building may further impact this tree. It appears the tree leans slightly north toward Montgomery Avenue and the known lack of root structure occurs on the south side of the tree. As a result, the District is concerned that this tree could be at risk of falling. The District has asked its landscape architect and arborist to evaluate the situation and will make a final determination as to whether it must be removed. The District has also contacted the City of Encinitas Planning Department and made them aware of the issue. If the tree is removed it will be replaced with another tree or trees located appropriately.

While the District is disappointed that a tree may need to be removed, it is pleased that a mature Magnolia tree, originally identified to be removed, has been able to be saved. The District remains committed to saving as many trees as possible.

Replanting Trees

The District worked with City staff to ensure the project’s landscaping plan provides adequate trees and proper species selection. In some cases, the District will replace trees with the same species of the trees being removed. In some cases, the District will replace less desirable and/or invasive trees with a species that is more appropriate, sustainable long term and consistent with the City of Encinitas guidelines. Additionally, the District has also taken extra measures to remove some existing fruit trees, maintain them elsewhere during construction, and have them replanted on the site.

What’s Next?

School will resume on Aug. 27. Students in grades K-1 at Cardiff School will return on-site and students in grade 2 will temporarily attend classes at Ada Harris during construction.

 Construction of the new classroom buildings is scheduled to start in November 2019 and will continue through Spring 2021. A complete construction schedule is available on the District’s website.

We appreciate your support and patience as we work to provide a new school for our Cardiff children.

Why It’s Important

The Cardiff School rebuild will provide the following benefits to our students and parents:

  • Create a more safe, secure campus
  • Provide a modern learning environment
  • Improve drop-off and pick-up areas
  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Improve playfields

Project Background

In 2016, approximately two-thirds of Cardiff voters approved Measure GG, a $22 million school facilities bond measure to modernize/rebuild Cardiff School and provide needed upgrades to Ada Harris School. 

The design for the Cardiff School rebuild was developed through an extensive community outreach process that brought teachers, students, parents, and local residents together to collaborate on a design that provides a safe and secure environment for the students, enhances their learning environment, and preserves the charm of the existing seaside campus. 

Need More Information about Measure GG?  

The District is committed to communicating with residents as this project progresses. You can learn more about the project by contacting Randy Peterson, the Measure GG Bond Program Manager at or reviewing the following documents on Measure GG and the Cardiff School rebuild project: