Some of the construction projects at local schools that are being funded through Measure LCF bond revenue are expected to cost more than first anticipated but are still within the budget, officials said this week.
Improvements that have been or will be made possible by the $149 million general obligation bond, passed in November 2017, were discussed on Tuesday night at the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board meeting.
“We started with $149 million and we wanted to build into it certain safety margins,” said board member Dan Jeffries. “Just to be clear about it, we’re not over budget on anything. We’re just getting to that point where we’re starting to look at how we use some of the contingency money we’ve set aside for just that purpose.”
Officials detailed projects that have been completed — including new roofing on Building 600, which adjoins the La Cañada High School cafeteria, as well as lighting upgrades funded through Proposition 39 at all sites — as well as others slated for construction this summer.
The summer 2019 projects listed are:
• Perimeter fencing at La Cañada, Paradise Canyon and Palm Crest elementary schools. The preliminary estimate was $526,750, and the current estimate is $740,640. The planned completion date is Aug. 8.
• Playground improvement at La Cañada Elementary. A 2017 preliminary estimate for the kindergarten playground only was $124,000; after the project was revised to include new paving and several other features, the current estimate is $845,000.
• A new lunch shelter at Paradise Canyon to replace a wooden shelter. The preliminary estimate was $620,000; the current estimate is $618,300. Completion is set for Aug. 1.
• Renovating the cafeteria, serving area and snack bar areas at LCHS, for which the beginning estimate was more than $1.1 million and the current estimate is more than $1.5 million. The increase is attributed to hazmat abatement and a structural upgrade. Completion is due Sept. 30, with a serving area projected to be finished by Aug. 1.
• The band room and parking lot drainage improvement at the high school has the same preliminary and current estimate at slightly more than $1 million, with a planned completion date of Aug. 1.
• A sewer line at Paradise Canyon, whose estimate — $215,000 — also is unchanged. Completion is expected Aug. 1.
Officials also mentioned future projects in the planning and design stages:
• A new LCHS outdoor pool facility and basketball courts, which had a preliminary estimate of more than $5.2 million but are now budgeted at $11.7 million, a figure that includes soft costs — for example, insurance and permits — contingencies and a 4% annual escalation.
• A modernization project at Palm Crest. The current estimated project budget is more than $34.4 million; the work is to include a new two-story building and renovation of existing classrooms, among other things.
Board members Joe Radabaugh and Ellen Multari said they wanted to see more information explaining the increase in costs for the LCHS pool and Palm Crest modernization items.
“I know you’ve explained it, but it’s not easily digested unless you’ve sat through a two-hour plus meeting,” Multari said to staff members at the meeting.
LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said she wanted to see a timeline for the design phases of the pool and the modernization project.
“I don’t want to rush,” Sinnette said. “This is a good process for community buy-in and intake and full-formed discussion but at some point it’s going to be expensive to draw the process out.”
After the meeting, Mark Evans, the district’s chief business and operations officer, said full presentations about the pool and modernization project and their impacts were expected at a meeting in March.
BIG DIG CONTINUES
Sinnette said school officials had met with representatives of the air purifying company IQAir with regard to the Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project, also known as the Big Dig, to determine the environmental impacts of placing and monitoring air filtration systems.
Sinnette attended a meeting at which district parents expressed their concerns to state Sen. Anthony Portantino, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Terry Walker and others about the project. The county is overseeing the work, and Sinnette said Barger was receptive to the suggestions from parents.
The Big Dig, whose first phase started in late November, is expected to include 425 daily round trips by diesel trucks. The trucks will go through the intersection at Berkshire Place and Oak Grove Drive and onto 210 Freeway entrances in both directions.
The process involves removing sediment behind the dam at Hahamongna Watershed Park to increase flood protection and restore habitat within the Arroyo Seco Watershed. Work to clear out vegetation and trees began in late November. The portion of the project that includes truck traffic is scheduled for April.
Sediment removal, according to the project’s website at dpw.lacounty.gov/swe/devilsgate, will take place from April through November and from 2020-22.
Additionally, the district is working with a law firm to put together an information graphic to distribute to district stakeholders after parents and board members view it, Sinnette said.
Today, representatives from an environmental consultant firm will go on a “site walk” with some parents to get recommendations for air monitoring systems and other thoughts, Sinnette said.
LCHS BOOSTER CLUB GIVES SIZABLE DONATION
LCHS Booster Club President Jeremy Milbrodt and Treasurer Randy Scoville presented a $41,000 check to Sinnette and LCHS interim Principal Jim Cartnal for a new Wellness Center on the LCHS campus. LCHS will soon start to create a space in the old textbook room in the Information Resource Center.
Sinnette said the Wellness Center would focus on helping users build resilience skills, be happy and engage in thriving, healthy behaviors. It would offer “wellness advice” and monthly themed programs, she said.
“The plan is to open up in August 2019,” Sinnette said. “We are very excited about it.”
Gabriel Drill, an LCHS senior, was recognized for being an alternate from California for the United States Senate Youth Program and selected a candidate in the 2019 Presidential Scholars Program on the basis of his academic performance.
Drill, who chairs the city’s Youth Council, said he went to Sacramento to be honored as an alternate.
Cartnal presented Drill, 16, with a certificate of achievement. Sinnette said Drill was one of approximately 4,200 students to receive the Scholars Program invitation out of nearly 3.6 million high school seniors graduating nationwide.
Only two students per state are selected as alternates to the youth program each year, according to a letter from the 57th annual Senate Youth Program to Drill.