Tall Trees at Point Loma High School Chopped Down

by on June 22, 2019 · 13 comments

in Ocean Beach

At the end of this week as the school year came to a close, the San Diego Unified School District obliterated the tall, old trees that have framed the front of Point Loma High School for generations. Chopped them down, ground them up. Disappeared them.

All part of the renovation, no doubt, of parts of the school.

Was there any outreach to or input from the local community about this?

On Friday, this reporter made several calls to PLHS (no answer) and to the District HQ public information office (the person was either in a meeting or …? no return call).

Thanks to Kathy Blavatt for the new photos, and hat tip to Geoff Page.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott June 22, 2019 at 6:54 pm

Here is a letter from the district’s supervisor of facilities communication (responding to an inquiry about the project):

“Thank you for your interest into our Point Loma High School Whole Site Modernization Phase 1 project. The original design intent as indicated in the rendering was to preserve as many of the existing Torrey Pine trees as possible. During the design process we consulted with a certified arborist, our landscape consultant, and our own in-house landscape team to help determine the health and viability of the mature Torrey Pine trees along the Chatsworth frontage. After extensive evaluation of the trees, however, it became clear that it would not be feasible to maintain them during the course of construction given their placement and general condition. Given this determination, a decision was made to remove all the existing Torrey Pines and replace them with 5 new and healthy Torrey Pines that could continue that legacy. In addition to the new Torrey Pines, new dragon trees, shrubs, and landscaping will help frame the new entrance to the high school. The old Torrey Pine trees will be memorialized in the new library building of the high school as there are plans to repurpose the wood from the trees and provide an opportunity for educational enrichment.

Thank you again for your inquiry.”


Rufus June 23, 2019 at 5:34 am

Obviously Dilbert writes correspondence for the school district.

“…there are plans to repurpose the wood from the trees and provide an opportunity for educational enrichment.”

What the hell does that mean????


Peter from South O June 23, 2019 at 6:03 am

Shop class?


Scott June 23, 2019 at 3:12 pm

I believe they are planning to make table tops for the new Media Center coming in a few years. This summer all of the school’s electricity grids and computer networking is being moved to a new location. In about October the 800 building (the round building in the photos) is being demolished. It has oddly-shaped classrooms on the second floor, the current Media Center on the first floor and a basement that houses all the electric/computer systems and floods during heavy rains. There are no restrooms in the entire building.

Over the next few years a new classroom/Media Center building will be constructed fronting Chatsworth Blvd. It will stand three-stories tall with the Media Center occupying the first floor and two stories of state-of-the-art classrooms above, including the home of PLHS’s new Engineering department.

These new classrooms (and all others already in use) will have digital tools including an interactive whiteboard, audio-visual cabinet, teacher’s presentation station, a wireless voice amplification system, an advanced model document camera, a DVD player a teacher laptop computer and mini-laptops for each student.

To see a complete listing of the improvements being made in the school, now 94 years old, go to: https://fpcprojects.sandi.net/SchoolDocs/Point%20Loma%20HS_bond%20project%20list.pdf


Vern June 25, 2019 at 5:24 am

Looks like shop class will be learning how wood chippers work.


Eric June 23, 2019 at 10:28 am

I’m sure out of an abundance of lawsuit paranoia and concern for the students the trees sadly had to come down. It’s one of those damned if you do, damned if you don’t situations. If a branch or a tree came down on a kid and hurt them or worse then what? The beloved Lorax Tree in La Jolla spontaneously fell just as one of these could have.


Vern June 24, 2019 at 11:59 am

Shame to have more and more trees cut down on the Peninsula.


Doug Blackwood June 24, 2019 at 8:18 pm

Did they do everything they could to save them?
Remember: trees clean our air, provide shade, & are cool to look at!


Michael June 24, 2019 at 11:21 pm

If they replace them with new, heathier trees it’ll be worth it. The younger trees will last longer and the tree growing business will plant more trees.


Geoff Page June 25, 2019 at 9:25 am

What do you mean by “healthier,” Michael. They provided nothing to establish there was anything wrong with the trees that were there. Those trees were cut down to make it more convenient for the contractor. Period.


Michael June 25, 2019 at 12:10 pm



Geoff Page June 25, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Well, younger doesn’t really mean anything. The trees that were there were young once but were not old trees either by Torrey standards. And there is no guarantee that a young tree will survive. Take it from an old dude, younger is not always better.


Michael June 25, 2019 at 8:37 pm

I agree. I know nothing about trees :)

I was satisfied with their plan to plant more trees and repurpose the wood.


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