Facilities Master Plan Stirs Conversation

Since late 2017, the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) has been developing a new Facilities Master Plan with the hopes of addressing site needs and developing facility goals across multiple campuses. Though facility development is hardly addressed in the average school day, The Vitruvian reached out to students and staff to hear out possible facility improvements on the Da Vinci campus.

Da Vinci staff was notified of the Facilities Master Plan during a staff meeting in late January where they were asked to consider facility goals and improvements that could be made on campus.

The larger proposed idea for the Facilities Master Plan is the creation of a unified campus between both the Da Vinci Junior and Senior High campuses. During a Facilities Site Council Meeting during lunch last week, a group of 15 students and staff from both sites came together to discuss the possibility of a joint campus and other separate site improvements.

Da Vinci Junior High science teacher Mrs. Megan Bettis and senior Sage Furman see this as a promising idea that could revolutionize the future of Da Vinci and Project Based Learning. “We’re all doing the same thing, we would all be working towards common goals,” said Furman. “I think it would be cool if the Junior High combined with the high school so that they could see more of what they’ll be doing.”

Mrs. Bettis additionally believes that having a unified campus has the capacity to improve Da Vinci Charter Academy on a much larger scale. “We’d be able to have more cross grade mentoring and support,” said Mrs. Bettis.

Freshman and council member Antonio Velásquez feels that the use of space and funds would be put to much better use on a unified campus, but believes that a joint campus has the capacity to negatively affect future enrollment and the social groups of DVJHS students. “I think that a lot of kids go to DVJH because they have friends going to Emerson,” said Velásquez. “If we limited their social groups to only the kids going to [Da Vinci], I think that we would definitely lose some future Da Vinci-ites.”

If a joint campus isn’t possible, Da Vinci community members believe that there are many improvements should be made to each separate site.

Science teacher Mr. John Langone believes that one realistic goal for Da Vinci Senior High should be updating the science labs in Mr. Grima’s classroom. “I would definitely say that updating (Mr. Grima’s) labs would be valuable. Whether it be getting more sinks, disposable areas and sources of water,” said Mr. Langone

At the Junior High, Velásquez believes that increasing space outside of the B-Wing should be the priority if a joint campus isn’t possible. “We have lots of rooms being shared by teachers, and I don’t think that’s right,” Velásquez said. “When you have to go across campus because you were teaching in another classroom the period before that adds a step that shouldn’t be there.”

Mrs. Bettis agrees with Velásquez and feels that Da Vinci Junior High needs more facility space. “I may be biased, but we need science specific rooms and it would be great if each teacher could have their own space and not have to share or move classrooms,” said Mrs. Bettis.

As discussion about the DJUSD Facilities Master Plan continues, Da Vinci staff and students agree that though the campus is small, the school deserves a voice in the conversation. “If we have better resources we can achieve even more as an entire school,” said Furman.

The Master Plan editing process will continue throughout the year with several events along the way. On Wednesday, February 7 from 6-8 PM, there will be a town hall-style meeting for several sites, including Da Vinci, at the Emerson library. This event is meant to gather input from the public, students and staff. Students across the district are also taking a survey to provide additional input. The Vitruvian will track the progress of the Facilities Master Plan process and follow up with future articles.

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