HomeCampusNeighbor complaints inspire CUSD to paint backside of Carmel High campus walls

Neighbor complaints inspire CUSD to paint backside of Carmel High campus walls

Published Oct. 5, 2023

BY AVERY PALSHAW

Due to complaints of extensive light reflection from neighbors living behind Carmel High School, Carmel Unified School District has painted just six walls on the east side of the campus a tannish brown, contrasting otherwise beige campus buildings.

The issue of light reflection from the school’s formerly cream-colored walls was first addressed in a community town hall meeting in December 2021, and according to director of maintenance and operations Bob Gruber, the district finalized the decision to change the walls in August after Carmel residents on Flanders Drive and in the Carmel Knolls continued to make complaints about the brightness of the walls, requesting that they be painted a darker color.

Not everyone is happy about the change.

“It’s unfortunate that the district and the high school kowtowed to community members that are quite frankly being unreasonable,” says art teacher Steven Russell, whose classroom had one wall painted, outlining a student mural.

Brown paint now covers six walls at the rear of the CHS campus, yet the mural by the art room remains untouched. (photo by AVERY PALSHAW)

According to Dan Paul, chief operations officer for CUSD, this isn’t the first time the district has made changes altering facilities in order to maintain good community relations.

The six walls painted are located along the ring road behind the school. Other than CHS’ performing arts center, which also features a stone facade and columns, all walls on campus are ivory-colored, making the light taupe walls clear outliers.

“Any learning institution should definitely work collaboratively with the community,” Russell says, “but I think people who bought property next to a high school should know better about situations and circumstances of living next to a learning institution.”

While some CHS staff members have expressed a strong disliking for the building changes, math teacher Jody Roberts says she has found some appreciation for the walls in relation to mathematics.

“I do appreciate that [the wall] forms a parabola, and it’s actually the solution to a quadratic inequality.” Roberts points out enthusiastically, “The math part at least makes me happy.”

The walls have remained unfinished since first painted in August, with spots of the original ivory color at the bases and tops of the buildings.

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