The Southern Humboldt Unified School District board held a special public meeting on Sept. 27 for an update by Kevin Tedder of Semingson Architects, Inc. on the Measure L school construction and modernization plans.
District superintendent Catherine Scott began by thanking the bond oversight committee.
Board chair Dennis O'Sullivan asked about the decision-making directional flow. Ideally, Scott said, the board would approve the plans then the plans would go to the site committees for review and comments. Then the board would be updated.
There are a lot of aspects that require coordination in school site project planning and construction, Tedder began.
Tedder presented a tentative time line proposal for the various school projects ranging from June of this year and going to May of 2017. The timeline reflected the entirety of the projects over the life of the bond sales.
Tedder's update gave the construction document status and included a tentative project timeline.
The construction documents are 100% complete and construction has started on the student services building and associated work at Redway School. This work includes moving three portable buildings to the space adjacent to the Southern Humboldt Family Resource Center.
Modernization of three Redway School classroom wings and addition of one kindergarten classroom, one primary classroom, two secondary classrooms, the library/computer lab/restroom building and associated sitework construction documents are 35% complete and is to begin in Sept. 2013 and end in June 2014. The Redway multi-purpose renovation construction documents are 5% complete and that work is tentatively scheduled to begin in July 2014 and end in March 2015.
Tedder reported that there were still decisions to be made about where the buildings will go at Redway School. There is a grading issue due to an elevation change that may necessitate a retaining wall and it is still unresolved what to do about the Head Start building.
At the South Fork High School site, the middle school construction documents are 100% complete and the project is under construction. The timeline indicates that the project should be completed in June 2013. The South Fork High School gymnasium renovation project construction documents are 70% complete and Tedder's timeline indicated that construction on that project would start in June 2013 and be completed in Nov. 2014. The library/administration project construction documents are 90% complete and the timeline proposed beginning construction in June 2015 and completion in July 2016. The South Fork High School modernization of three classroom wings construction documents are 50% complete and scheduled to begin in Aug. 2016 and be completed in May 2017. However, the board decided to move the modernization of South Fork High School B and C wings up to begin in the summer of 2013. The fields, including demolition of the Osprey site construction documents are 5% complete.
The modernization of Casterlin School construction documents are 60% complete and construction is scheduled to go from June to December of 2013.
Whitethorn School modernization of the existing building and addition of a multi-purpose building and associated site work construction documents are 10% complete. Tedder's proposed timeline showed the Whitethorn School project would begin in June 2014 and be completed in April 2015.
There was some consternation about how far into the future that was. Advocates for Whitethorn School said there is a need for a multipurpose room and more restrooms right away. They have outgrown the space, they said. There are 108 students and no place for kids to eat lunch other than in the classrooms or outside. There is also currently only one boy's bathroom stall and two bathroom stalls for the girls. Some of the people at the meeting from Whitethorn School said they would even be willing to wait for the classroom modernizations if necessary, but they really need an assembly room and more restrooms as soon as possible.
Teddor explained that all aspects of the project will be under one DSA (Department of State Architect) application number because of the intricacy of the plans. Tedder suggested that a Whitethorn site committee be convened and he will meet with them, get more specifics and put together a priority list. Then he would talk with the board to determine a sooner start date.
Agnes Johnson School had been left out of the planning process and the board had decided to make sure it was included by actively pursuing plans for modernization at that school. They directed Tedder to proceed with planning for it.
Preliminary drawings that were approved by the board have been expanded now and there is a lot more information available. Juggling the bond money and its availability, the students and the priorities need careful consideration by the board. Board member Susan Thompson pointed out that a necessary component of such decision-making processes require the board be provided with the projected costs of the projects.
Scott proposed that site committees for each elementary school should be enacted, rather than the current configuration of one elementary schools site committee and a high school committee. These individual elementary site committees could be superintendent subcommittees and the appointment of members pursued within each elementary school.
It was decided that the board should have a meeting with Tedder every month or two. Once it's all designed the procedure can be modified as needed, Tedder said.
Some schools require only modernization of existing structures. Others, that require new buildings as well as modernization of existing buildings must have both aspects designed concurrently, since there are many components that must be tied in together such as HVAC, (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), data/electrical systems and drainage and water system upgrades. There is also the need to plan the shifting of students into and out of buildings for work taking place during the school year.
Tedder explained that the components of modernization of existing buildings include replacing floors, replacing chalk-boards with dry-erase marker boards, new lighting, new HVAC, new cabinetry, upgraded data and electrical systems, new double-paned windows, paint and in some cases new T-bar ceilings. New fit and finish, they call it, he said.
New roofs are also a good idea with the modernization, Tedder added.
In B and C wing at South Fork, Tedder recommends getting rid of the skylights in the hallways. Skylights are things of the past, he said, going the way of chalkboards.
When construction plans are completed they must be submitted to Department of State Architects (DSA). Once a project is approved by DSA you only have three-and-a-half years to begin construction because codes change every few years and work must be done under the code that is current at the time.
After projects are approved by DSA they can be submitted to OPSC (Office of Public Schools Construction) for funding by a state bond measure for school modernization. SHUSD has already been approved for eligibility by OPSC. This could reimburse the district on a 60/40 basis.
Tedder explained that the state of California passed a bond measure some years ago to fund school modernization projects. But there was some trouble selling the bonds due to the economic climate so the money was allocated but not available. By the time the bonds started selling the state already had a list of projects that were approved but unfunded and OPSC started shelling out money. The available money was used up on those projects so now the state will have to either sell more state bonds or get another statewide bond measure passed. So Tedder said the district will have to plan on district bond money to complete the projects since the OPSC funding timeline is uncertain. He stressed the need to prioritize the projects.
A request has been made to modify the electrical plans to enable generator hook-up in case of emergency for the gym building at South Fork. It is a designated Red Cross emergency site. South Fork already has a generator. Tedder asked the board to consider whether the plans should be for a manual switch system or automatic system and whether it should be to power every circuit in the building or just the necessary ones.
Tedder listed the minimum necessary circuits to be powered by generator in case of emergency to be freezer, kitchen, lighting, HVAC, fire sprinkler pump, some convenience outlets and hot water heater, at least.
Tedder said he is meeting with the county office of education to discuss data needs.
The board asked Scott about playground equipment and furniture upgrades. Scott reported she wasn't that far along in the decision making process yet.
There was a continued discussion about waterlines. Good drinking water is a necessity, said Scott. A board member asked about landscaping water. Tedder said sleeves are included in the planned water lines so a person could drag a hose around to any landscaping that might be put in later. But Tedder said that landscaping is not included in these plans.
Regarding the guaranteed maximum price and changes to plans, Tedder said the guaranteed maximum price is based on these plans, but does include a 10% contingency component built in to handle change requests. So far there haven't been many of those. But even many small changes can add up after time.