To accommodate a growing population in the Bay Point area, the Mt. Diablo school district is considering reconfiguring existing campuses and building a new school in Pittsburg.

During a community meeting Monday, a consultant unveiled three possible options, which elicited strong reactions from the public. Consultants are gathering feedback during the next few months and plan to present a report to the school board by June that outlines several possible scenarios, along with their costs.

Funding for the plan would likely come from developer fees and a general obligation bond, consultants said.

"Bay Point is a growth area, and we are trying to plan what we are going to do because we don't want to be reactionary," board President Sherry Whitmarsh said Tuesday. "This is future planning."

Many in the Bay Point community have been clamoring for a high school ever since the district closed the high school that used to operate on the Riverview Middle School site many years ago. Now, Bay Point students commute to Concord to attend Mt. Diablo High.

Consultants presented several options, including reconfiguring some K-5 elementary schools to K-6 or K-8; converting a middle school campus to a middle/high school; or building a new school on vacant district property.

Those who attended the meeting said they didn't want middle school students on a high school campus. Some questioned the need to make any changes, while others adamantly advocated for a new high school instead of merely converting the middle school.

A consultant's study showed the K-12 population in the area is expected to grow from 4,705 to 5,372 in the next decade. While an increase of about 667 students is not monumental, it could indicate a need for new or expanded facilities, they said.

The district has purchased an 11-acre site in Pittsburg that could accommodate an elementary or small middle school, consultants said.

But some parents and students expressed concerns that the site is not big enough to include as many sports fields as most middle schools have.

Parents were very concerned that high school students could negatively influence middle school students if grades 7-12 were combined on one campus. The consultant said seventh- and eighth-graders may be separated from 9-12th graders, but share some facilities such as a cafeteria, library or gym.

Some parents in the largely Latino community also said they did not receive adequate notice about the meeting.

A few said they did not have access to the Internet and could not complete the survey if it wasn't translated into Spanish.

The principal of Bel Air Elementary suggested that the district hold another meeting to give more people an opportunity to weigh in. The consultant also said the surveys would be available at schools for those who couldn't access them online.

ONLINE EXTRA
The public is invited to give feedback through a survey at www.baypointmasterplan.com
More information about the plan is in the On Assignment blog at www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment.