A proposal to build a permanent home for at the new campus came under fire Wednesday from neighbors who said they weren’t properly notified about the plan.
Steve Rieger, a resident of Lois Court just north of the Edna Maguire campus, said he was alerted just "days before" MDS owner Bright Horizons made a presentation of its schematic design to the board. Rieger's bedroom, he said, overlooks the area where the company is proposing to remodel two existing buildings and expand upon them at the northeast section of the campus, which is in the midst of .
“This is the first I’ve heard of it,” Rieger said at the school board's meeting Wednesday evening.
Tim Ryan, the district's director of maintenance and operations, noted that four local residents attended a Sept. 6 meeting on the plan and that the public can weigh in again at the board's Oct. 3 meeting.
"The schematic design is the starting point, otherwise there is nothing for people to react to," he said.
The proposal involves remodeling Edna's former kindergarten wing on the old campus, the rest of which has been demolished. Marin Day School has occupied that wing for the past two years, and plans to use the two remodeled buildings for an administration office/reception area and for classrooms, respectively. Bright Horizons also plans to build a third building to host its after school program.
A playground is planned for the east side, and the complex will be separated from the Edna campus by a low fence, with the main entrance through a courtyard.
“The mini-campus, so to speak, will have its own identity,” Andrew Chen of Jacob Wond of Tectonics Architecture told the board.
Dana Rieger brought up concerns about drainage, and the location of the playground, and said neighbors are using words like ‘astonishing’ ‘astounding’ and ‘flabbergasted’ to see the proposal so far developed without resident input.
“It’s frustrating to even have to work off of this,” she said. “It seems like this is already five steps ahead of where it should be.”
Pat Burns, director of client relations at Bright Horizons, said officials did reach out to neighbors and that the plans are purely conceptual.
“We do feel like this is the beginning,” Burns said. “It was never intended for this to be something for final approval.”
Marin Day School is a longtime staple at Edna and throughout the Mill Valley School District, having managed extended day care services in the district since 1983. MDS' Hillside Preschool has operated at Edna for 10 years but has had to reduce its enrollment and expand its waiting list to accommodate growth at Edna, Bright Horizons officials said.
The interim MDS campus is located northeast of the temporary parking lot through the summer of 2013. The proposed MDS mini-campus would allow the company to expand its preschool offering, officials said.
"There’s a real demand for this kind of service in our community,” Burns said, noting that priority is given to Edna families, school district employees and neighbors of the school.
Wednesday’s presentation was Marin Day School’s first time before the school board, and they will be back at least twice with public updates, Superintendent Paul Johnson said.
“I think the point is, this is a beginning step,” he said. “It’s informational.”
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