Jun 5 2018

Opinion: PUSD Must Adhere to Office of Public School Construction and Division of the State Architect Rules and Restrictions

Superintendent Booker Responds to concerns about construction costs of the new high school STEAM BUILDING. The following are excerpts from Superintendent Booker’s letter.  The full letter is linked at the end of this article.

“June 3, 2018

“On May 31, Piedmont resident William Blackwell published a letter describing plans for construction of a new high school STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) building and theater building as “A Costly Mistake.” The District shares his interest in maximizing value and avoiding waste, and has exhaustively reviewed his and many other concepts for modernizing antiquated facilities and adding much-needed science, technology and engineering labs. Mr. Blackwell’s concept is based on inaccurate information and is simply not feasible under rules and restrictions as determined by the Office of Public School Construction and the Division of the State Architect. Additionally, over the past two years, District staff and Board members have met with Mr. Blackwell on multiple occasions to hear his concerns and provide him with accurate information.”

Program Milestones

“The District is on schedule for accomplishing the most pressing goals of the Measure H1 facilities program. This year, the District finalized plans for the new STEAM and theater buildings. The District will submit these plans for State review this summer, and State approval is expected in the Spring of 2019. The District expects to begin construction of the STEAM building in the Summer of 2019, and complete and occupy the building in August 2020. The District expects to begin construction of the new theater in the Summer of 2020, and complete and occupy the building in 2021.

Also this year, the District:

• Completed plans to make a range of safety and security improvements at PMS this summer, including installation of new doors, hardware, and electronic locks.

• Completed plans to add ventilation and climate control equipment at the elementary schools and the PHS 30s building this summer, to prevent classroom overheating and improve the learning environment.

• Finalized plans for the improvement of underground drainage and replacement of the turf and track at Witter Field. The District expects to begin construction of these improvements in the Spring of 2019, and complete this work in the Fall of 2019.

• Completed plans to replace antiquated light fixtures at Witter Field with new LED fixtures this summer. The new fixtures will improve overall field lighting and player safety and promote energy efficiency in accordance with District and community goals.”

More information about the Measure H1 facilities program can be seen at measureh1.org As always, I welcome questions and comments at any time at rbooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us 

Randall Booker, Superintendent Piedmont Unified School District


Letter re-H1 Bond 6-3-18

One Response to “Opinion: PUSD Must Adhere to Office of Public School Construction and Division of the State Architect Rules and Restrictions”

  1. In reply to Superintendent Booker’s response to my recent article “A Costly Mistake”, the salient issue is whether or not the high school can get by without adding eight portables for a period of three years. I am not an educator but I can add and subtract.
    The high school now has 39 designated classrooms on the campus, two of which are used for other purposes. A normal school day includes seven periods. The Administration building currently has 8 classrooms used by 12 teachers for a total of 52 periods a day, nearly 100 per cent utilization of the 56 total periods. When the Admin building is demolished, there will be 31classrooms remaining on the campus with a total of 217 teaching periods each school day.
    The PHS Staff Directory provides the specific classroom and number of periods assigned in that classroom for each member of the faculty. My tabulation shows that at present the Math Science building has a surplus of 8 periods, the Library has a surplus of 18 periods, and MHS has a surplus of 28 teaching periods. If the district temporarily cancels out ceramics, MHS will have a surplus of 32 periods. Total underutilization will then be 58 of the 217 periods, six more than the 52 needed to accommodate all of the teachers on the staff including those displaced by demolition of the Admin building. The 31 remaining classrooms will be no more heavily used than are the existing classrooms in the Admin building — and for 1.5 years under my proposal instead of 3 years.
    Making enhanced use of the library conference room and subdividing just one of the existing classrooms into 4 smaller seminar rooms would provide additional flexibility. The PHS principal’s office can be conveniently relocated across the arcade to the rooms now occupied by the teacher’s lounge and teacher’s resource room in the library. Teachers might, in fact, benefit by sharing the student lounge with the students. And storage space, even if temporarily rented, is relatively easy to provide.
    Other issues may need to be resolved, but the high school can get by without adding eight portable classrooms, and the district could proceed now with the demolition of the Admin building. That much is indisputable.

    William Blackwell

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