What Does Your Ideal Malibu School Campus Look Like?

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The Canyon plan would move the middle school to the left and high school students to the right, giving each student body a quad—an open space among school buildings—in addition to a shared space in between the two areas. The drop-off/pick-up and parking areas would be separated as well; middle schoolers would be have the current Juan Cabrillo space while the high schoolers would have the new parking lot made at the front of the campus.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District scheduled two meetings to solicit community input on four potential campus plans for the Malibu Middle and High schools. 

Per LPA, Inc.—the design architecture firm tasked with creating the campus plan—the planning process is a balance of four concepts: educational vision and goals, demographics, facilities’ condition and financial analysis. 

Residents were asked to fill out surveys regarding what they would like to see improved and changed among the campus facilities in January. A series of meetings were held the same month to discuss education specifications, which specify physical requirements necessary to promote student learning.

The most recent meetings are a culmination of input from the surveys, meetings and stakeholders—such as teachers, faculty members, students and parents—involved in planning the campus.

The campus plans were designed with a breakdown of 450 students for the middle school and 750 students for the high school, and address community wants including a “semi-rural” atmosphere, safety, athletic components, meaningful open spaces and athletic components. They also take into consideration the assets provided by the location of the campus on Morning View Drive. 

These assets include an abundance of open space on campus, site orientation allowing for natural sunlight and sea breezes, elevated views and “unique adjacencies,” which refer to the nearby trails and Malibu Equestrian Park. 

Rick Musto, the managing director with LPA, Inc., said nearly all of the buildings, save the ones currently under construction and the new gym, “didn’t have enough value.”

“So, you’ll see that the options that we’re gonna put in front of you have those buildings basically, at some point in time, being removed or demolished,” he explained, in part. The district has already made clear that a portion of this project will be paid for by Measure M, a school facilities bond passed in November 2018; it is unclear how much these plans will cost the district—and Malibu residents—in the long run.