Minutes of the December 2, 2021 Meeting of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee

December 2, 2021
4:30 – 5:30 pm
Virtual Meeting by Zoom

I. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 4:30 pm when a quorum was established.

II. Establishment of Quorum

In attendance: Chair Grier Graff; members Andy Hempeck, Kim Dao, Kyung-Hee Howard, Rick Raushenbush, Julie Caskey; PUSD Board members Megan Pilsbury and Amal Smith; PUSD staff Pete Palmer, Ruth Alahydoian, Michael Brady, and Julie Moll. Absent: Melissa Wilk, Jonathan Levine.

III. Public Comment


IV. Approval of September 16, 2021 Minutes

There was no public comment.

Moved: Kyung Hee Howard
Seconded: Kim Dao
Vote: Approved, with a request that minutes include more detail on committee discussions going forward.

V. Construction Update

Measure H1 Program Manager Pete Palmer narrated a slideshow of ongoing construction including the following site work: installation of drains; preparing for planting of street trees and laying irrigation lines; installation of exterior light fixtures including lights on the trellis; pouring concrete walkways; excavation of bedrock and installation of rebar grids for trellis footings; threading utilities through the new footings; and decorative saw cutting of concrete pathways. The site work is progressing well and should be completed within the next few weeks. In addition to general progress photos inside the main and black box theaters and restrooms, the slideshow featured interior work including: installation of acoustic panels around the stage; wood ceiling panels in the lobby; fans; track and pendant lighting; and components of the Dedicated Outside Air System that will ensure a steady and quiet supply of fresh air throughout the new building.

In response to questions from the Committee, Mr. Palmer reported:

The new street trees were selected in part because they have non-invasive roots and can survive within a bedrock tree well.

There are no gender neutral bathrooms in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), but there are in the STEAM building, and the STEAM building restrooms will be open for public use when there are performances in the Performing Arts Center.

The wood ceiling panels in the PAC lobby are 2 x 2s and match the ceiling in the STEAM lobby.

The District had expected the State to issue a Certificate of Occupancy (COO) for the PAC two weeks ago but this has been delayed. The State cannot issue the COO until all fire/life/safety, accessibility, and elevator inspections are completed, and the District is waiting for the State to schedule the last of these inspections. Once the State issues the COO, Acting classes will be moved into the Acting classroom. However, work will continue in the main theater and it is difficult to estimate when that work will be completed.

After supply chain disruptions and delays of more than six months, specialized crews are now attaching custom, motorized battens to the theater ceiling using scissor lifts. Putting scissor lifts on a finished, sprung-floor stage would ruin the stage, so stage installation cannot begin until this installation is complete. After the stage is installed, the crew will attach more than 100 theatrical lights to the battens. Each light must be individually adjusted, programmed, and tested to ensure that all features are fully operational and photometrically balanced. Also, the crew will attach the orchestra shell and stage drapes. Once this process is complete, District staff will receive training on the operation and maintenance of this equipment. Given the extent of work and the necessary sequencing, the District is not yet scheduling performances in the new main theater.

District staff did most of the work to chisel and excavate bedrock to create tree wells for the new street trees. This is not part of the general contractor’s scope of work, and the District saves money “self-performing” this work. The City will purchase and install the street trees but the District is responsible for excavating the tree wells, installing irrigation, providing top soil, and purchasing tree grates.

Work in the STEAM building is continuing. There is a punch list of work to be completed outside of school hours, so classes are not disrupted. Also, the District is closely monitoring performance of the state-of-the-art building systems, and subcontractors have had to attend to a range of issues to ensure that the systems perform as designed. This process is expected to continue, especially when the heating and cooling systems of the STEAM and PAC buildings are interconnected. There are advantages to interconnecting these systems, which will be under one warranty.

The District will retain at least $1.1 million from its final payment to the general contractor , Overaa, until both the STEAM and PAC projects are 100% complete.

Overaa will work through the December school break, and the District expects all site work will be completely or nearly completed when students return in January. The construction fences and portables will be removed from Magnolia Avenue and Permit A parking spaces will be restored.

The heavy rains this Fall did not cause any problems for the construction. A few leaks were detected but they were quickly sealed, with no damage or risk of mold.

VI. Program Budget Update

Chief Financial Officer Ruth Alahydoian presented a Bond Income, Expenditure, and Fund Balance Report, which account for nearly $65 million in bond spending (including some interest earnings) over six years and roughly three million dollars remaining.

Ms. Alahydoian explained that Piedmont Education Foundation offered to provide up to $1.8 million in temporary funding to help complete the bond program without further cuts or deferrals, if this would be more advantageous than borrowing from Overaa under the terms of the lease-leaseback agreement or other external borrowing. PEF earns a high rate of interest on its Endowment Fund, which is used to support District programs. The District will need to compare PEF’s lost earnings on Endowment Funds loaned to the District with the District’s cost of other financing options as well as borrowing costs and repayment terms.

The District is eligible for between $4 and $6 million in State funding, so any loan would be repaid when the State funding is received, which is dependent on approval of a State school facilities bond measure. This may take several years.

Including $1.7 million in interest earnings and $1.8 million in PEF or other funds, the H1 budget is now close to $70.3 million.

In response to questions from the Committee, Ms. Alahydoian reported:

If no State bond measure is approved, or if there are more added or unforeseen costs, the District will need to consider a capital campaign or another local bond measure. PEF is facilitating discussions about a possible capital campaign regardless of State bond funding. The District may use funds held in Fund 40 – a reserve for facilities maintenance and replacement – to pay interest on any loan. The District will investigate whether any financing costs may be a factor is setting fees for use of the PAC.

Although the PAC will be completed in 2022, audits of bond finances and financial oversight by this Committee will continue into 2023, and maybe longer depending on the nature of any outstanding loans.

CBOC Financial Report

VII. Future Agenda Items & Tours

District staff will provide the Committee with independent audit reports for 2020-21 when these are completed, and schedule Committee tours of the Performing Arts Center before the March 17 meeting.

VIII. Adjournment

Moved: Kyung Hee Howard. Seconded: Rick Raushenbush. Vote: Approved

The meeting adjourned at 5:34 pm.

The next CBOC meeting is scheduled for March 17, 2022 at 4:30.