1/17/19 H1 Facilities Bond Program Letter to Families

Dear Families,

I hope the new year is off to a great start! I’m writing with a report on the District’s facilities program, which is about to enter an exciting new phase. I’ve included background information about the program objectives and an overview of what you can expect in the next few months. If you have questions or comments, please contact me at rbooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us or Director of Facilities Pete Palmer at ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

The Facilities Master Plan & Measure H1

Several years ago, the District conducted a comprehensive facilities master planning process to:

  • Assess the condition of facilities, and
  • plan improvements to ensure that the facilities adequately support educational programs now and in the future.

The Piedmont voters then approved the Measure H1 school facilities bond measure (November 2016). Measure H1 authorized the District to borrow $66 million to accomplish the highest-priority projects identified in the Facilities Master Plan, including:

  • Construction of a new high school building focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (“STEAM”),
  • renovation of existing high school facilities, and
  • implementation of energy efficiency measures to reduce operating expenses and environmental impacts.

The high school buildings are a priority because they are the oldest in the District, with antiquated mechanical systems that have reached the end of their useful life, and educational programs have changed since these buildings were constructed. Both additional and different kinds of facilities (such as modern science, technology and engineering labs) are needed to support curriculum now and in the future. Other priority projects include facilities to support extended-day kindergarten at each elementary school. (See Measure H1 for a list of authorized projects.)

The Design Phase

Following passage of Measure H1, District architects and community members with expertise in architecture and construction helped develop various concept designs for new and improved high school facilities. Because of the limited space and topography of the high school campus, the viable options involved tearing down an existing building to take advantage — and make better use — of its real estate.

In the Spring of 2017, the District held three community town hall meetings and an online forum to engage the community in a conversation about the various concept designs — about what individuals liked and didn’t like about each concept, and how they viewed the trade-offs associated with each. Roughly 130 parents, teachers, students, and members of the Piedmont community participated.

District architects and the District’s Facilities Steering Committee reviewed the community input and reached consensus on a plan to demolish Alan Harvey Theater and locate the new main high school building on the theater site. (Accessibility and other significant structural issues with the existing Alan Harvey Theater are discussed here.) Following completion of the new building, the 10s building will be demolished and replaced with a new Alan Harvey Theater.

HKIT Architects designed the projects with input from the District’s science, art, computer science, and performing arts teachers and students, and incorporate the District’s energy conservation goals. (See the architect’s September 26, 2018 presentation of the STEAM and theater plans, including renderings of the exteriors and interiors of the new buildings, here.)

The Construction Phase

We are now approaching the construction phase and the estimated schedule for the STEAM and theater projects follows:

March 12 Closure of Alan Harvey Theater, Interior Salvage and Abatement Work Begins
April 13 (Spring Break) Demolition of Alan Harvey Theater Begins
June Construction of STEAM Building Begins
June Demolition of the 10s Building, Construction of New Theater Begins
August Completion and Opening of the STEAM Building
Fall Completion and Opening of the New Alan Harvey Theater

These dates are estimates because it is still uncertain when the State will issue permits for these projects. The actual schedule will depend on this and other factors such as subcontractor availability, lead-times for procurement of materials, and weather conditions.

Closure of Alan Harvey Theater

The District expects to close Alan Harvey Theater on March 12. Closure in the Spring, rather than at the end of the school year, will help keep the STEAM project on schedule for completion before the 2020-21 school year.

To mitigate the impact on students, staff, and campus flow, the theater site will be cordoned off from the rest of the campus. There will be a fence enclosing the work areas with gates that will remain locked during non-working hours. Access to the site will be limited to authorized construction personnel only, and security cameras will be in place to monitor the site 24 hours per day.

Salvage & Abatement

Starting immediately after the the Theater is closed, the District will “salvage” and remove fixtures, lighting systems, and other features that can be reused in the new theater. Next, a specialized contractor will abate any hazardous materials (for example, old thermostats and light fixtures that contain mercury). This salvage and abatement will take place inside the existing theater building and will proceed largely unnoticed by students and staff.

Relocation of Drama Classes

During the time the theater is closed, from March 2019 through the Fall of 2021, the District will relocate drama classes to Haven’s Ellen Driscoll Theater, Piedmont Middle School’s Multi-Purpose Room, and the City’s Veterans Hall.

Relocation of Performances

The Spring plays will be performed in Ellen Driscoll Theater. The District has reserved performance venues in Oakland for other performances, including concerts, musicals, dance shows, and is continuing to look for additional venues that meet our needs and are welcoming to all. If you have suggestions about possible venues, please contact ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us or tculbert@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

Relocation of the Piedmont Adult School

Until recently, the Piedmont Adult School was located in the basement of Alan Harvey Theater. PAS has relocated to the “20s” building on the Piedmont High School campus (the building closest to Piedmont Park).

Demolition of Alan Harvey Theater

The District plans to demolish the theater over Spring break. If demolition cannot be completed during that week, the District will develop a schedule for the remaining demolition, to minimize the campus impact to the greatest extent possible.

Throughout demolition and construction, the District will follow industry and legal standards to mitigate noise and dust and screen the staging and work areas. Also, the team will implement and maintain a Pollution Prevention Program to filter dirt and debris from water that flows from the site into the storm drain.

Changes to Parking and Traffic Along Magnolia Avenue

The District is working with the City of Piedmont to plan for and mitigate the demolition- and construction-related impacts on parking and traffic along Magnolia Avenue.

Rerouting Deliveries

The District will re-route large trucks making deliveries to the District away from Magnolia Avenue. Currently, large trucks make deliveries throughout weekdays and park or double-park along Magnolia. Starting in March 2019 and continuing through completion of the new buildings, large-truck deliveries will be made to a satellite location near Coaches Field on Moraga Avenue and then shuttled in a small pick-up truck to the Magnolia Campus.

Dedicated Offsite Parking for Workers

No construction workers will be permitted to park on Magnolia Avenue. All contractors and subcontractors will have off-site parking, with shuttle service to and from the work sites.

Temporary Reconfiguration of Parking and Traffic Lanes

The District and City are developing plans to alleviate congestion along Magnolia Avenue during demolition and construction. This may include the temporary elimination of some parking spaces and installation of “K rails” (barriers used for lane separation and pedestrian safety in construction areas) along PMS to encourage a dedicated drop-off/pick-up lane. The District will provide detailed information about parking and traffic changes in early March, after these plans are finalized. Also, the District will have staff along Magnolia for an initial period after making any parking and traffic changes in order to establish safe practices during the busy morning and afternoon periods.

This letter is intended to provide an overview of the facilities program and information about what to expect in the next few months. We will provide more information about program logistics in early March, closer in time to the start of work.

If you have questions or comments about these facilities projects, please contact me at rbooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us or Pete Palmer at ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

Randall Booker, Superintendent