I used to feel a nostalgic twinge when I stepped over the wide strip of beige dirt at the south entrance at Castle Park Elementary in 1997; it looked exactly as it had in 1957 when I was a second-grade student at the school. That old, familiar strip of dirt disappeared this summer.
The history of grass at Castle Park Elementary
This landscaping work might seem like something akin to a rip in the fabric of the universe when you consider what it took to get grass planted on the soccer field at the school. I got so tired of having my students fall and slide on the hardened dirt of the soccer field over the years that I complained, but it did no good. Then I hit on an idea. I got a friend to write a letter to the Chula Vista Star-News about the problem. The paper didn't print the letter, but I believe that they forwarded it to CVESD. Within two weeks there were crews at the school installing deep green sod. It was beautiful.
On June 2, 2008 I asked, "Since half a million dollars spent on lawyers didn't fix Castle Park Elementary; how about trying honesty and respect?"
Board members Pam Smith and Larry Cunningham are sticking to their guns, standing firm against truth and reconciliation at Castle Park Elementary, but they do apparently have a new plan: landscaping!
This summer things changed at Castle Park. The CVESD website boasts:
"Landscaping improvements already a hit with students, community
Castle Park Elementary welcomed students back to school with a new look. A campus beautification project along Naples Street, off Hilltop Drive, provided a welcome facelift. Landscape improvements included trees, shrubs, planters and more greenspace.
Even as work crews were busily laying mulch, watering and applying finishing touches, a passing youth on a skateboard yelled out, "The school looks great now!"
District Facilities crews added landscaping such as drought-tolerant sod and carrot wood trees, and irrigation to the campus. Mulch was added to all planter areas to reduce watering and weed growth. Water-saving sprinkler nozzles were used throughout the project. The irrigation system is connected to the site master control valve, which links to the District's weather stations, that in turn to help regulate water usage and alert personnel to any leaks.
Existing banks at the site were further enhanced with multi-trunk pepper trees and numerous shrubs.
[Maura Larkins comment: Trees are awfully nice on a hot day when a child is seeking relief from the hot noon sun.]