12/12/18 – H1 Facilities Bond Program Update

by PUSD, Tidings Founder • December 11th, 2018 • No Comments

The District remains on target with key milestones in the Measure H1 facilities bond program, and a progress report follows.

  • Budget Development
  • Increased Construction Costs
  • Beyond the STEAM and Theater Projects: Witter Field & More
  • Closure of Alan Harvey Theater and Relocation Planning
  • Relocation of the College & Career Center
  • Relocation of Shipping & Receiving
  • Community Updates

Budget Development

District staff and members of the District’s Facilities Steering Committee are reviewing subcontractor bids and exploring a range of options to reduce construction costs for the STEAM and theater projects, and will continue to do so for several more weeks.  These options include

possible changes to “means and methods” and materials to reduce cost without cutting scope, and possible reductions in scope.  Ultimately, the District and its general contractor, Overaa Construction, will negotiate a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for these projects.

Staff is planning to present the project budgets and GMP to the Board on January 23. Budget development is taking longer than expected. Nonetheless, the District is still on schedule to start demolition of Alan Harvey Theater this Spring and construction of the new STEAM building this Summer.

Increased Construction Costs

The budgets for the STEAM and theater projects will be significantly higher than originally estimated by the District and its independent cost estimators.  This is due to several factors: extraordinary inflation and market conditions; changes in project scope mandated by the State; and changes in project scope elected by the District.

The primary reason for the increased cost is inflation.  The preliminary theater budget was developed in early 2016, based on “comparable” theater projects in the area that were underway or completed in 2014 and 2015.  Those “comps” do not reflect the current surge in costs of construction materials and labor. Please refer to the attached letter from the Fremont Unified School District, dated November 27, 2018, discussing this surge and its effect on the FUSD bond program.

To a lesser extent, the increased costs relate to increases in project scope.  The 2016 comps did not include some of the structural elements required by the State for school facilities in close proximity to the Hayward Fault.  Also, the District added complex systems to achieve “zero-net-energy” buildings, and a drama classroom and meeting room in the theater building. The Facilities Steering Committee discussed these scope increases and determined that they are necessary to: meet community goals concerning sustainability and conservation; support the performing arts programs; and protect the theater from the undue wear and tear of daily use as a classroom.  Specifically, the Committee concluded that failing to incorporate state-of-the-art energy efficient systems and the additional theater space would be short-sighted, because it would fail to meet current and future program needs, and because it would result in higher operating, maintenance, and replacement costs over time.

Beyond the STEAM and Theater Projects: Witter Field & More

Because construction costs have increased dramatically, it is unclear whether, after the STEAM and new theater are completed, there will be bond money remaining to complete other aspects of the District’s Facilities Master Plan (FMP).

Other projects the District hoped to advance or complete in this first $66 million phase of FMP implementation include:

  • Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FFE) for the new STEAM and Theater buildings
  • Witter Field Improvements
  • Classroom Climate Control (now partially completed)
  • PHS Quad Improvements
  • 20s Building Modernization to Convert Labs to General Education Classrooms
  • 20s and 30s Building FFE
  • Campus Security Improvements (now partially completed)
  • Facilities to Support Extended-Day Kindergarten

After establishing the GMP for the STEAM and theater projects, the District will decide how to use the remaining bond funds to accomplish or advance as many of these projects as possible.  The cost information for each of these projects, too, will need to be developed before the District will know what is achievable in this first phase.

The Witter Field project includes turf and track replacement, installation of a new drainage system, and pathway modification for greater accessibility.  The District has undertaken all steps necessary to prepare for the project, including:  site surveys and analysis; engineering and plan development; application for a permit; relocation planning for athletics and graduations; and development of a Request for Qualifications/Proposals for field contractors.  Nonetheless, the District is waiting to determine the cost of the STEAM and theater projects before deciding whether to proceed with the Witter project this year or defer it for at least one year. The District expects to make this decision in January or February.

Closure of Alan Harvey Theater and Relocation Planning

The District expects to begin demolition of Alan Harvey Theater this Spring, and the estimated schedule follows:

March Closure of Alan Harvey Theater (after the Spring play),
Interior Salvage and Abatement Work Begins
April (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

During the time the theater is closed, from March 2019 through the Fall of 2021, the District will relocate drama classes on or near the high school campus.  Possible off-campus options include Ellen Driscoll Theater, the Piedmont Middle School Multi-Purpose Room, and the City’s Veterans Hall. The relocation plans will be finalized in February.

Also, the District will relocate rehearsals and performances in Piedmont or nearby Oakland.  The Spring plays will be performed in Ellen Driscoll Theater. The District is actively looking for additional performance venues — for concerts, musicals, dance shows, the bird calling contest, and other performances — that are welcoming to all and meet the following criteria:

  • Total capacity of at least 650 and ideally 800.
  • Stage capacity of at least 150, so students can sing as a group.
  • Fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • With appropriate space for a piano, drum set, bass, and other instruments as needed.
  • Risers.
  • Excellent acoustics.
  • Access no later than 4:00 pm and continuing until at least 9:30 pm on the day of the concert/performance.
  • Access for at least one rehearsal on a day other than the day of the concert/performance.
  • Reasonably close to Piedmont and served by public transportation.
  • Rental fees not to exceed $1,500.00 per day.

If you have suggestions about possible venues, please contact ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us or tculbert@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Relocation of the College & Career Center

As the District prepares to close Alan Harvey Theater this Spring, it is making plans for the near-term and permanent relocation of school programs.  This has opened up an opportunity for the College & Career Center to relocate into the Piedmont High School Counseling Office. This move will improve communication and coordination between C&CC Director Kristen Hansen and the PHS academic counselors and, more importantly, make it possible for PHS to better serve students.  (Ms. Hansen will continue to work with MHS counselor Stefanie Manalo-LeClair to support MHS students and families.)

The PHS Counseling Office, currently in the PHS 10s building, has a conference room that will be converted into a temporary College & Career Center.  The Center will occupy that room starting in January and continuing through the end of the 2019-20 school year. At the end of that year, when the 10s building is vacated and demolished, the combined PHS Counseling Office and College & Career Center will move to a new, permanent location.  Parent volunteers will continue to support the Center with scheduling and other work that can be done offsite.

Another significant change is that the Center’s collection of college and career materials will move into an alcove in the Library in the 30s building.  This move will make the materials more accessible for students, and students will be able to borrow these materials in the same way they borrow Library books.

The office space currently occupied by the College & Career Center in the 20s building will become the temporary home to the Piedmont Adult School’s administrative office.  The PAS office is currently housed in the basement of Alan Harvey Theater and must be relocated during construction of the new STEAM and theater buildings. Students and families may have questions about how locating the PAS office in a classroom building may affect campus life and campus security.  Please be assured that there are few visitors to the PAS office during the school day. Those who do visit the PAS office during the school day — typically to enroll in evening or weekend classes — will follow the same security protocols that are in place at all school sites.

Relocation of Shipping & Receiving

The District needs to permanently relocate its Shipping & Receiving department, which is currently housed in the basement of Alan Harvey Theater, starting in March 2019.

The City of Piedmont has agreed to allow the District to use the City’s Corporation Yard behind Coaches Field to receive “large deliveries,” at least for the next 18 months.  The District will install a storage portable and a small office portable at the Corp Yard, and rent a small pickup truck to shuttle materials from there to the Magnolia Campus.  This will reduce the large vehicle traffic on Magnolia significantly. Also, the District had identified an alternative location in nearby Oakland that would have cost $60,000 per year to lease, so the no-fee agreement with the City to use the Corp Yard is especially good news.

Community Updates

The following posters, featuring architectural renderings and timeline information about the Measure H1 Bond Program, are now on display on the Magnolia Campus (near Alan Harvey Theater marquee), at each elementary school, in the District Office, and at the PEF office:


Review and discuss the Measure H1 program updates.