Routes: Mold at the SMASH/MUIR campus has forced those students to attend other schools. SMDP Image

Many Santa Monica students returning to class today for the first day of the 2022-23 school year may see some unfamiliar faces — or unfamiliar surroundings. That’s because the Water Intrusion Project at the John Muir Elementary/SMASH campus in Ocean Park has displaced hundreds of kids, not only at that campus but up Ocean Park Boulevard at Olympic High School. 

The discovery of extensive water damage, mold and insect damage at John Muir/SMASH caused the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to scramble to find a solution for where to put students while discovery, repair and possible rebuilding projects get underway on the 26-year-old campus. 

Beginning Aug. 18, SMASH students will move en mass to the Olympic High School Campus, also known as the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration. The majority of Muir students are attending class this year at Will Rogers, with others dispersed around the city to schools including Franklin, Roosevelt, Grant and McKinley elementaries.

Upper level students who had been attending school at the Olympic/Obama Center campus will begin the school year at Santa Monica College.

School District personnel anticipate the project to fix issues at the Muir/SMASH campus will take around two school years, with a possible extension into a third.