Mammoth Unified School District and Town of Mammoth Lakes representatives gathered this Wednesday for a Liaison Committee Meeting in which new development projects featured prominently, from the multi-use/ice rink facility currently under construction to a potential $4 million child development center.
On the multi-use front: construction continues one week behind schedule, with Mono County Superintendent of Schools Stacey Adler reporting that the rink is still set to open on Dec. 2.
Participants in a tour of the site prior to the meeting batted around alternative uses for the facility during spring and summer months, including hosting theme nights and Friday night dances for teens. Others pondered the possibility that the Jazz Jubilee Big Top might find a home there, although the alcohol permit would be an issue. Another suggestion from Superintendent Adler: use the facility as a “jumping off point for summer camp programming,” with tie-ins to library summer programs.
Also discussed as part of the larger Gateway visioning was a visual/performing arts and culinary arts center possibly being built with part of the remaining $7.9 million in Measure C ($15 million bond passed in 2000) funds as part of the Cerro Coso college campus.
Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Rich Boccia, who attended a recent Measure C task force meeting, noted that the college has some reservations about putting the money toward performing and culinary arts, out of concern that the “theater pathway might not be a viable pathway,” and that there isn’t a “broad enough audience for people to take culinary arts classes.”
Mono County Office of Education Board of Trustee member Judy Farnetti wondered, “Why culinary arts over hotel management, for instance, or early childhood education?” Answered Superintendent Adler, “The only thing explained to those of us at the Measure C task force meeting [held last week] is that a theater allows for concession sales. And then the culinary program could tie into that.”
The final project on the table is a child development center proposed and submitted for the Promise Neighborhoods Implementation Grant. The Grant application was submitted Sept. 1, and Superintendent Adler reported she would hear yes or no by December. The proposed project would be a $4 million, 13,406 square foot facility across the street from the Mammoth Elementary and Middle Schools, with seven classrooms and a 12,000 square foot nature-based play yard, allowing for a total of 108 children at any one time.
“This would not just be a daycare center but a weekend center and night-care center, which we don’t have,” said Adler. “We could also get local kids involved working with kids at a younger age. This is one more avenue toward tapping that potential for local kids to be teachers, educators, and administrators.” Adler also pointed toward possible partnerships and internship opportunities with the college.
MUSD Board member Greg Newbry was all for the center. “This is a critical element to Mammoth being a success,” he said. “We have an amazingly excellent school, but if we don’t have really good daycare, we can’t attract people to live here.”
According to the application for the grant, there are only two center-based child/preschool facilities in town, and only one accepts infants and toddlers. At present, 23 children are on the waiting list for those two centers.
“We’re not attracting people to live here,” Newbry continued; “we’re attracting people to visit.” Right now, he concluded, Mammoth is a “2 star hotel with great trails.”