From Superintendent Frank... As we experience another series of storms, I want to make you aware of some of the damage that this year’s winter season has caused to the school grounds and what the immediate and long-term impacts are. We have been very fortunate to have avoided any severe flooding or downed trees on our campus. With that being said, there is significant creek erosion that has become very obvious over the last several weeks.
Many of you who live along creeks have seen firsthand the destruction that these storms have caused. For those of you who don’t know, about ten years ago, the District took on a very expensive project to erect stitch piers into the hillside immediately adjacent to the kindergarten soccer field. This was done to help control the erosion. The storms this year have caused massive erosion to this hillside, exposing the stitch piers and encroaching upon our kindergarten soccer field and amphitheater. During a storm in January, roughly twelve feet of hillside near the labyrinth, adjacent to the amphitheater, washed away.
Photos below show the erosion of the hillside and the instability of trees caused by that erosion, but they do not show just how much erosion has taken place and how it is encroaching upon our grounds. Because the ultimate repairs will be very costly and require patience as we navigate the multitude of agencies and red tape required to approve them, we anticipate this project to take quite some time. In the meantime, we have decided to act immediately by erecting safety fencing around the impacted areas. With the help of Butler Construction, fencing was installed this week on the kindergarten field and also adjacent to the amphitheater in order to keep students, staff, and any visitor who utilizes our fields at a safe distance. We envision this temporary fencing to be in place for several months as the soil is compromised from being saturated with water and will take months to dry.
Navigating projects such as these take time and money, and our School Board, with the help of the District’s Facilities Committee, has begun to look at this creek project, along with the long-term infrastructure and facilities needs to create a comprehensive plan to maintain this beautiful campus. In order to maintain our facilities, the District will need to go out for a future school bond. This is a long process that our School Board recently began. There will be much more information regarding a possible bond as we move forward, and I will certainly communicate the details with the school community.
In the meantime, we will continue to educate the students as to the dangers of creek erosion and student safety; however, it would be very helpful if you could have those same conversations with your children. WES is a very popular place for children to come to play outside of school hours. Please remind them that the temporary fences were put up for their safety, and at no time should they compromise their safety by climbing them. The ground is very unstable, and they need to stay away from the creek.