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No More Eating on the Ground Among Mice for Capo High Kids

Capistrano Valley High has a rodent problem--and a problem finding seats for students to eat lunch. New lunch facilities are being built to address both.

Students won't be forced to sit in the dirt at lunch next year at Capistrano Valley High School once three new $1.4 million lunch pavilions are finished.

There isn't any place for students to eat at the 35-year-old school where rats and mice have been a problem, according to parents and students.

Last week the Capistrano Unified school board approved three new lunch pavilions 6-0, with Trustee Ellen Addonizio absent.

Altogether, the pavilions will accomodate 750 students, said Clark Hampton, deputy superintendent of business services. He said construction of a new performing arts center made this a good time to make the improvements.

Capo PTSA President Barbara Arthur said that rats and mice at the school make eating on the ground unthinkable for students.

"The hygiene level disturbs me," she said. "That is just not acceptable."

Parent Kim Horner has two children attending Capo.

"It’s not many—it’s all of the students who sit on the ground," she said. "They put the food on the ground. You add the rain factor, and it’s really a lit bit disgusting."

Capo student adviser Madison Wolfer confirmed the reports of mice and rats and eating on the floor. She described the lunchtime accommodations as being "quite a mess."

The state requires schools to provide "a warm, healthful place in which children who bring their own lunches to school may eat the lunches."

The new pavilion will be ready by January 2014, Hampton said.

— Patch Editor Penny Arévalo contributed to this report.

Michelle Pike January 29, 2013 at 05:22 PM
First question, why did it take 35 years for the school to have accomodations for the students to eat lunch? Second question, why are they only building an area to accomodate 750 students when there are 4 times that many students who attend Capo? Third question, how many students have to sit on the ground to eat lunch at SJH?
Alberto Barrera January 29, 2013 at 10:25 PM
To answer your third question, the answer is none. SJHHS has a very open campus with plenty of lunch tables to sit at, and even though those are already used up, there is still plenty of space to sit on the walls around the campus.
Capo Parent February 04, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Because for years CVHS was the dumping ground for CUSD. The same reason it took a over 20 years to get a swimming pool and roughly 25 years to get a theater at CVHS, and the same reason parents had to revolt to get the abysmal conditions at Newhart remedied. For years CUSD schools in MV were neglected even though MV is a cash cow for CUSD.

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