Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

School Board Discusses Seismic Options

Posted by drewbendon on October 26, 2007

The October 24, 2007 School Board meeting focused on the Seismic Risk Reduction Program / Measure E.

This special report was prepared for PNN by Dana Serleth and Lillis Stern.

Havens Conceptual Design and Cost Estimate

History: Assessment of seismic risk at Havens has been completed by consultants. Three of the five buildings on the school campus require seismic strengthening; in addition, the school has significant accessibility issues as well as fire and life-safety issues which must be corrected in order to undertake the seismic strengthening work. Consultants have presented the school board with four options for correcting these deficiencies:

At the low end of the cost spectrum, two retrofit options have been presented, estimated to cost between $9.5* and $18.2M. (Although recent consultant board meeting comments indicate that true cost is closer to $17M at the low end.) The disadvantage of each of these is that they reduce already dear classroom space in order to create accessibility via ramps in the administrative building – further chopping up that space. The advantage of either is that they can be accomplished relatively quickly at relatively low cost.

At the other end of the cost spectrum, replacing the school in entirety is estimated to cost between $35 and $41.8M. The advantage to replacement is that a new school could be designed “from the ground up” to meet other current and future needs of Piedmont students, teachers and families, thereby eliminating pressure to make additional changes after earthquake safety needs are met. The disadvantages of this option include high cost and perception of deceit (some citizens may feel that Measure E funds should only be used to correct seismic deficiencies, and should not improve facilities beyond that point). At $41.8M, a new school at the Havens site would require 75% of Measure E Bond funds or raising additional funds, would take relatively longest to complete, and would accomplish more than Measure E intended.

Latest Proposal — Refined Hybrid Option: In the middle of the cost spectrum at $23M is a fourth option, the hybrid. It includes retrofitting classroom wings and rebuilding the center Administrative area of the school. The rebuilt area would be raised so that it is level with Oakland Avenue and with the wing currently housing kindergarten classes. This reduces the need for ramps, creates the opportunity to reconfigure administrative space, creates new flexible use spaces, and allows for enlarging classrooms 21 and 22 to the current state standard of 960 square feet. It also provides for a better flow from the entrance throughout the school. While all these “upgrades” result from better utilizing existing space, this alternative does not attempt to address all known current and potential future needs at the school site, so may not leverage Measure E funds to their fullest extent.

All of the proposed options correct the seismic and associated deficiencies identified to date. Some advantages of the Hybrid proposal in doing so are:

· Lower cost, less disruption, less time to complete compared to rebuild option

· No loss of classroom space to correct deficiencies, as in retrofit options

· Better flow of entrance area and throughout the school; more direct routes through the school

· Two enlarged (regulation size) classrooms

· Reconfigured administrative space, allowing for better space utilization

· 4 flexible spaces recovered by reorganizing flow and better use of space (these could be used for language resource, math resource, reading resource, counseling, special ed, art, science)

· New centralized entrance to the library

Some disadvantages of the Hybrid are:

· Higher cost, more time to complete, more disruption compared to simple retrofit options

· Less ability to consider and leverage dollars toward non-seismic and long term site needs as compared to rebuild option

· May be cost prohibitive as percent of Measure E funds available?

· New accessibility ramp required on Highland side of campus displaces covered lunch space on the First Grade playground

· Lose outside (playground) access to restrooms at north end of playground (in new build)

· Tire swing area and the orange play structure would be displaced and the level of this area raised to the level of the playground above and new building level (neutralized by budgeting funds for a replacement / reconfigured play structure)

· May be harder for parents with strollers to maneuver through campus on stairs in the main hallway (lift may not be available to parents).

Beach Conceptual Design and Cost Estimate

By contrast to Havens, there has been one concept designed to address all seismic and related deficiencies identified at Beach. All deficiencies can be corrected without changing the functional or architectural character of the school. Major proposed corrections include shear wall strengthening, a new ramp and handicapped parking at the entrance of the school, adding an elevator on the side of the Auditorium to access the stage and art room, and replacing the portable classroom building. Total cost of this work is estimated at $12.2M.

Maintenance Buildings Conceptual Design and Cost Estimate

The maintenance buildings need to be functional after an earthquake, so that maintenance staff has some place to do any work needed to repair other buildings. Currently, the buildings are severely deficient in terms of seismic and nonstructural hazards, fire and life safety as well as accessibility. Cost to mitigate deficiencies ranges from $1.7M to $2.7M, depending on whether a partial rebuild or full rebuild is undertaken.

Guidelines for Meaure E Project Decisions

In mid-November, the School Board will begin development of the Program Plan for Measure E funds. The plan will define the scope, sequence, and budget for each project to be included in the implementation phase of the Seismic Risk Reduction program. The Superintendent has prepared a seven page memo outlining the complex issues, options and impacts involved in planning for implementation. The Board’s goal is to agree by 11/15 on a set of guidelines for decision-making and priorities for development of the program plan. To that end, the Superintendent grouped the issues into 7 broad categories for purposes of discussion, and provided initial staff recommendations for each:

1. Safety

2. ADA + Fire & Life Safety

3. Budget and Funding (Measure E, State Modernization Funds, etc)

4. Building Usability Post-Quake

5. Instructional Program

6. Green Impact

7. Historic / Aesthetic Preservation

The full report is posted at the district’s Bond web site at: http://pusdbond.org/public/community.html (scroll down and click on Bond Measure E Discussion of Guidelines-Criteria. In addition, the Superintendent has presenting an overview of this information to Parent Clubs, site staffs, and in community meetings to gather information prior to School Board decisions. Individuals should communicate their interests through the district’s bond website: input@pusdbond.org.

Community Engagement

The Board is planning an interactive Community Workshop scheduled for Saturday, December 8, 2007, 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Piedmont Middle School multipurpose room, to gather input on the draft program implementation plan.

Havens Parents Club Meeting

The November 6, 2007 Havens Parents Club Meeting (and evening meeting) will review provide parents another opportunity to review the seismic mitigation options.

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