By Dolores Quintana
Students at Santa Monica’s Muir Elementary / SMASH campus will be relocated to allow crews to repair water damage on campus, which has led to a slew of issues, including mold in one classroom.
The relocation was determined to be necessary after the Board of Education reviewed the situation and feedback from the community.
Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati sent an email to the parents and guardians at Muir Elementary School / SMASH campus, updating the situation. The report, issued on May 24, said that the visual inspection by Alta Environmental NV5 Industrial Hygiene Consultants found 11 classrooms that exhibited signs of apparent water damage in the form of elevated moisture content, discoloration, staining, bubbling, and peeling/cracking and one classroom, Room 415, exhibited signs of visible mold growth.
The deciding factor in the relocation of the students from campus was the discovery that the water intrusion in the buildings at Muir/SMASH is far more serious than first thought. Superintendent Drati stated the need for relocation in a letter on May 17, “As a result of the severity of these issues detected over winter break, the District retained a water intrusion specialist who did a survey over spring break. The final report was received last Friday and results are shared in the link below. The report exposed water damage, along with insect damage and dry rot on this campus. The good news is that with the age of these buildings, there is no concern of asbestos, lead paint or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the building materials, which were outlawed prior to the construction of these buildings.”
Supervisor Drati added in the same letter, “In order for us to perform this campus remediation work, we will need to close at least one building at a time. This will require students to be relocated while the work is being accomplished. The complete process will take at least two years.”
The plan is to move Muir / SMASH students to Will Rogers Learning Community, with the option for parents to apply for transfer to another SMMUSD school, namely Grant, Roosevelt, McKinley or Franklin. The presentation with options and survey results shared with the school board on June 6, 2022 can be found here. Families may opt to transfer to one of two Malibu elementary schools.
Dr. Drati said, per the email, “We understand that this is not what any of us expected to be facing at the end of a school year. We appreciate parent and staff ongoing support and trust as we continue to make the health, safety and continuity of instruction our top priorities.”
The Board of Education has scheduled tours for Santa Monica campuses, including Will Rogers, as follows:
Will Rogers: Tues., June 14 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.: 2401 14th St. www.smmusd.org/rogers
Roosevelt: Mon., June 13 from 2-3:30 p.m: 801 Montana Ave. www.smmusd.org/roosevelt
McKinley: Tues., June 14, from 2:30-3:30 p.m: 2401 Santa Monica Blvd. www.smmusd.org/mckinley
Grant: Tues., June 14, from 4-5 p.m: 2368 Pearl St. www.smmusd.org/grant
Franklin: Weds., June 15, from 4-5 p.m: 2400 Montana Ave. www.smmusd.org/franklin
Families who are currently enrolled in after-school care with CDS (grades TK-3) and CREST (4-5) will have a guaranteed childcare space for the 22-23 school year at Will Rogers ONLY. Families interested in another school site we will NOT be able to guarantee your child(ren) a childcare space.
Those interested in attending Grant, Roosevelt, McKinley, Franklin, Webster or Malibu Elementary for the 2022-23 school year, living within the SMMUSD boundaries, must submit an intradistrict permit application by Friday, June 17, 2022. If SMMUSD does not receive a transfer request, students will automatically be enrolled in Will Rogers for the fall. Students currently attending Muir on an interdistrict permit must submit a new interdistrict permit application to attend another school in the district by Friday, June 17, 2022.
Editor’s note: this article has been updated to reflect that the move is due to broader water damage, not just mold.