A private elementary school in North Berkeley may have to find a new location after assessments of its landmarked building revealed potentially significant work is needed to make it safe to occupy.
Michael Koops, head of school at the German International School of Silicon Valley — which opened in 2012 at the old Hillside School site at 1581 Le Roy Ave. — wrote in an email to the school community Monday that, “continued use of the Hillside building requires significant short-term investments in structural improvements and possibly very substantial additional seismic retrofit work in the near future.” Koops also makes clear that funds for any structural work are not available, not least as current tuition had not covered the costs of instruction and facilities “for some time.”
The news, which came as a surprise to parents, followed a report by geotechnical and structural engineering experts on the seismic performance of the Hillside building.
One parent who has two kids at the K-8 school, and who asked not to be named, said parents were “freaking out.” Many are angry and disappointed, some are even talking about lawsuits, he said.
Koops said in the email that the school board had discussed the problem last week, but that no decision had been reached. He announced a town hall meeting for all the school’s parents and staff on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
Before that, the board will meet again, on Wednesday, to “make an informed decision on next steps, including whether or not, and under what conditions, continued use of the Hillside campus is feasible.” … Continue reading »