Coast Unified trustees heard from community members touting the idea of a golf facility near the high school, elected a new board clerk and heard about strategic goals for the coming school year at their monthly meeting Thursday, Aug. 13.
The golf discussion came on the heels of a cooperative effort between the district and the Cambria Pickleball Club to install courts behind the Old Grammar School on Main Street.
Trustees referred to those courts as an example of the district’s willingness to work with private groups on projects of mutual benefit to the schools and the community at large.
“We’re so excited and grateful for these courts,” said Taylor Hilden, president of Cambria Pickleball by the Sea Inc., who appeared before the board with her husband, Jos Hilden. “I think it’s a wonderful partnership between the school district and the community and Cambria Pickleball.”
Jos Hilden added: “It’s a win-win.”
As to the golf facility, board President Del Clegg said, “I think there’s interest.”
That interest was expressed by community members Mike McLaughlin and Charlie Casale, both of whom spoke in favor of exploring the project.
“You can use it for your PE class,” said Casale, a former Coast Union High School football coach and a Cambria Realtor. “Just like Pickleball, any age can play. We need community involvement like that.”
McLaughlin, an educator and president of the Cambria Community Healthcare District board, added that “I think you’d see real support in the community.”
“Golf is a lifelong sport. We used to teach a unit on lifelong sports — golf and tennis being the examples,” he said, adding that such a facility would benefit students throughout their lifetimes.
A number of questions would have to be answered, however, before such a facility could become reality.
Some questions that arose at the meeting: Would the proposal involve a driving range or a series of holes on a miniature course? Would a golf facility be the best use of the land, or would it be better utilized for dry farming and viticulture education? And what about water?
“We’re restricting water use for the community,” Trustee Lee McFarland pointed out. “There’s not an infinite bucket there to get water from. I’m concerned about the impact on water if we go with a multi-hole golf course, as opposed to a driving range.”
The idea remains in the early stages of discussion.
If it were pursued, Superintendent Vicki Schumacher told trustees, the district would need to obtain a
mitigated negative declaration of environmental impact under the California Environmental Quality Act.
Another golf proposal a few years back ended up not being pursued, she told the board. That proposal involved a “Cayman” golf course, a short course played using a lighter ball that travels about half as far as a conventional golf ball.
“We are truly at the early stages of exploration at this time,” Schumacher wrote in an email.
Further discussion of the idea was scheduled for the board’s October meeting.
In other business:
- The board voted 4-0 to appoint McFarland as clerk. (New trustee Tiffany Silva was absent, recovering from surgery.)
- Schumacher delivered a “State of Education” report for the district, including three strategic goals: to expand students’ communication and critical thinking in literacy; to accelerate students’ academic outcomes in mathematics; and to advance students’ college and career readiness. Schumacher said she and Trustee Sue Nash prepared the report. (See story, Page 10).
- Trustees voted 4-0 to place Cambria Community Day School on inactive status for 2015-16.
- The board voted 4-0 to approve a transportation agreement allowing Cambria Pines Lodge to use district transportation for a fee.