04/30/22: STEAM & PAC Facts & Figures

Community Open House
STEAM & PAC Facts & Figures
April 30, 2022

History of Measure H1

In 2015, PUSD assessed school facilities to determine whether they support changing educational programs and goals. PUSD found: 

  • educational needs changed since the high schools were constructed;
  • additional and different kinds of facilities were needed;
  • specialized labs were needed for science, technology and engineering; and
  • specialized facilities were needed to offer/expand courses in film, web design, theater arts, graphic arts, culinary arts, and sports medicine, for example.

To address the highest priority needs, PUSD proposed Measure H1: 

  • authorizing $66 million in school construction bonds;
  • approved by 74% of the Piedmont voters on November 8, 2016;
  • Funds to be used to build the new STEAM and Performing Arts Center buildings AND make improvements at all of the schools.   

STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics

Built on the site of the old Alan Harvey Theater, construction started in June 2019 and ended in Fall 2020 (when all schooling was remote due to COVID-19).

The STEAM building features:

  • 6 science labs;
  • 4 computer science labs;
  • 1 engineering lab with patio; 
  • 7 general classrooms; 
  • 2 art rooms with patios; and 
  • a new PHS main office.

Due to proximity to the Hayward Fault and geologic conditions of the site, the STEAM building is seismically strengthened with:

  • 32 rock anchors, bolts, and rods extend roughly 30 feet into the ground and attach to underlying bedrock,
  • 500 tons of structural steel, 
  • 2,900 cubic yards of concrete and 
  • 208 tons of rebar.  

Consistent with community expectations, the STEAM building is designed to minimize environmental impacts:

  • Designed to be “zero-net-energy” – it should consume as little energy as possible and generate enough solar energy to offset energy use;  
  • designed to use about 1/3 or less of the energy of typical, similar buildings, meaning the District can spend less on utility bills and more on programs;
  • all building systems are electric, cutting carbon emissions;
  • designed to use as much natural light as possible, and all lights are low-energy LED fixtures; 
  • well-insulated with state-of-the-art energy management and climate control systems;
  • timers and sensors ensure that heating and cooling are activated only when these rooms are in use;
  • In the evening after warm days, windows automatically open to flush warm air and take in cooler evening air;
  • A “cool roof” and exterior shading help protect the building from solar heat gain; 
  • some of the solar panels double as window shades and patio shades that also help protect against solar heat gain;
  • State-of-the-art ventilation and air filtration systems ensure excellent indoor quality even when outdoor air quality is poor;
  • all materials are low-emitting, also contributing to excellent indoor air quality;
  • all plumbing fixtures are low-water use;

The STEAM building was designed to use solar power:

  • The STEAM building was designed to have 518 solar panels and 300 have been installed; 
  • 218 have been deferred until more funding becomes available, but all infrastructure (roof stanchions, conduit, wiring, inverters, and sub panels) is in place so that these panels can be easily added later;
  • 58% of the STEAM solar panels were in place and fully operational when the building opened; 

The STEAM and PAC buildings appear to be separate structures although their mechanical systems are interconnected.  

Protecting Water Resources

Site work around the new STEAM and PAC buildings includes low-water, native plants, efficient irrigation, and“bioretention” basins:

  • to channel and filter rainwater;
  • these basins use soil, plants, and underground layers of gravel to drain and filter this water before it flows off site; 
  • prevent rainwater from overloading the City’s storm sewer system, contributing to flooding and damaging local streams; and 
  • filter bacteria, sediments, and pollutants from rainwater, improving water quality as it flows underground and ultimately to the San Francisco Bay.   

PAC: Performing Arts Center

The new Performing Arts Center features:

  • A new Alan Harvey Theater, with 486 in total seating capacity and flexibility in how seating is configured (e.g., 20 of the fixed seats in the first two rows are removable to provide additional orchestra space). The original Alan Harvey Theater had 442 seats;
  • The stage has a capacity of 257, nearly double that of the original; 
  • green room with dressing rooms;
  • Acting classroom which can double as a small theater; 
  • conference room; and 
  • large lobby has a maximum capacity of 416, more than double that of the original, that is well suited for student art shows and other events.   

Construction started in June 2020 on the site of the old “10s” building and was completed in early 2022.

The PAC, like the STEAM building, is seismically strong with:

  • 35 rock anchors and 25 micropiles that extend 26 feet into the ground to anchor the PAC foundation to the bedrock below; 
  • 450 tons of structural steel, 
  • 2,300 cubic yards of concrete and 
  • 97 tons of rebar.  

The PAC includes all of the same sustainable features as the STEAM building.  

The PAC was designed to have 492 solar panels but all have been deferred until more funding becomes available. All related infrastructure is in place (including roof stanchions, conduit, wiring, inverters, and sub panels) so that the panels can be easily added later.   

Other H1-funded Projects

  • Upgrades to state-of-the-art ventilation and climate control equipment in 27 classrooms at the middle and elementary school campuses.    
  • Conversion of two offices in the PHS 30s building into a computer classroom with 34 workstations.  
  • Refurbishment of old science labs and other spaces in the PHS 20s and 30s buildings for use as general classrooms and offices.
  • Improvements to the learning environment at the middle school, including the reduction of sound transfer in classrooms and improved climate control, and renovation of special education facilities and restrooms.
  • Installation of new safety and security features at the middle and high schools consistent with the District’s Safe Schools Plan. 

Added and Unforeseen Costs

Added and unforeseen costs contributed roughly $6.5 million to bond program costs (as of March 2022), including:

  • Changes mandated by the California’ agency that oversees public school construction that added significant quantities of structural steel and concrete.   
  • Discovery and replacement of deteriorating underground utilities for all existing high school buildings.
  • Pandemic-related costs including a full-time health and safety officer at the STEAM and PAC construction sites, and additional shifts that made it possible to reduce the number of workers per shift and increase physical distance workers .

The District offset more than half of these costs, deferring features (such as solar panels) that could be added later.

PEF Financing

The Piedmont Education Foundation provides financial support to the District and manages an endowment fund of more than $9 million.  

PEF is providing up to $1.8 million in endowment funds, so the District could avoid more deferrals. The District will return these funds when it receives money from either a capital campaign, State school modernization funds, or other sources.  

Thank you for touring these buildings and supporting important improvements to the Piedmont schools!