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Mt. Diablo Measure C facilities overview

By Theresa Harrington
Monday, May 24th, 2010 at 7:30 pm in Contra Costa County, Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

If the Mt. Diablo school district’s $348 million Measure C passes on June 8, the district expects to complete 817 projects costing $202.1 million (construction only) at 53 sites. The district has posted lists of these projects by school on its website, but it has not posted the overview of costs and project types.
A thick volume titled “2010 Facilities Master Plan Update/Proposed Bond Program Profile: 2010 Facilities Improvement Plan” dated April 2010 includes the complete list of projects and their costs. You can view the document at the district office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.
I am attaching the Summary by Project (or school) below, along with the Summary by Cost Model (or type of project).
In 2009, according to the document, district staff updated a facilities self-assessment and master plan update from 2006, taking into account projects that were completed from the 2002 Measure C bond. Throughout 2009 and into 2010, staff began assessing the need for infrastructure improvements for new technologies, high efficiency buildings, resource conservation and solar technology.
When the board voted March 9 to put the 2010 Measure C on the ballot, staff had not yet finalized a list of projects to present to voters like they did in 2002. Instead, voters were presented with a general list, while maintenance and operations staff visited sites and asked administrators to review a list of phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 priorities (phase 1 being highest priority and phase 3 being lowest).
“All site submissions and revisions have since been incorporated,” the document states.
The plan prioritizes projects according to these criteria:
– Health and safety: including repairs, security, roofing, exterior lighting, window and fire protection systems
– Systems equity: including equipment, facilities and program access at sites in an attempt to equalize expenditures across the district
– Technology: supporting emerging technologies serving educational programs.
– Community enhancement: expenditures that benefit students, staff and community
– General fund relief: facility-related expenses that would provide significant long-term relief to the general fund.
The plan proposes to complete projects over five years, but includes a caveat indicating that could change.
“The actual cost flow requirements of any major facility program are driven by a fixed program/project schedule and the cost of those projects as they are assigned within that schedule,” the plan states. “Because no such schedule has been established we have, for the purpose of illustration only, here assumed that the program would be implemented over a five year active construction term.”
Pete Pedersen, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said he recommends creating an “in-house management team” (with only supplemental third party program/construction management assistance) to help keep costs down. It turns out, Pedersen will likely head up this team after he retires, according to Superintendent Steven Lawrence’s planned reorganization
Pedersen wouldn’t have been able to oversee the projects had he stayed on as assistant superintendent, because the measure prohibits proceeds from being spent on administrator salaries.
Here are Pedersen’s total estimated bond costs:
Conceptual project construction: $202.2 million
Estimating contingency (5 percent): $10 million
Construction change order allowance (10 percent): $21.2 million
Escalation to mid-point of construction (Sept. 2013): $42.5 million
Soft costs (20.5 percent): $56.6 million
Total construction program costs: $332.5 million
In addition, the board wants to use Measure C bond money to pay off $14.4 million in debt from other bonds and lease to purchase agreements. This brings the grand total to $346.9 million.
As you can see in the Summary by Project, expenditures at sites range from $619,221 at the Sunrise special education school for air conditioning and nine other projects to $8.9 million at El Dorado Middle School in Concord for air conditioning, solar panels, new buildings, science labs and 18 other projects.
The Summary by Cost Model shows that the bulk of the money will be spent on solar projects, with more than $68 million designated. The second-highest expenditure planned is for classroom heating and air conditioning upgrades at a cost of nearly $36.3 million.
The district intends to spend $14.6 million to replace portable classrooms and more than $12 million each on technology systems and middle school science labs.
Here are the other items the district plans to spend more than $1 million on:
Roofing systems: $9.8 million
Security systems: $8.1 million
Interior classroom lighting: $7.2 million
Restroom renovations: $5.9 million
Network cabling and upgrades: $4.8 million
Administrative air conditioning and heating: $4.5 million
Floor covering: $2.8 million
Fiber optic backbone: $1.8 million
Windows: $1.6 million
Food service (code improvements): $1.8 million
Specialized classrooms: $1 million
Playground repair: $1 million
Those in favor of the measure say it would help improve technology, maintenance and “provide safe places for supervised after-school activities like athletics and fine arts that help keep kids on the right track and out of trouble.”
But there do not appear to be any large-ticket athletic or arts facilities upgrades planned.
Hellena Postrk, principal of Sequoia Middle School in Pleasant Hill, announced to a packed audience at a band performances last Friday that Measure C would likely enable the campus to get a real stage instead of having to use temporary risers. But the project list posted online doesn’t include a stage.
When I called Postrk today to ask her about this, she said she requested that the district add this as a high priority when she returned the project list. But, somehow, it was overlooked.
Postrk said she is working with Pedersen and Superintendent Steven Lawrence to get the stage on the list. She said the school doesn’t need $20,200 worth of door hardware on the list, so perhaps the stage could replace that item.
The district website also includes the wrong campus site under Sequoia Middle School. Instead of showing the middle school layout, Sequoia Elementary school’s campus is pictured.
Measure opponents say the list was created hastily, after the board dropped the idea of seeking a parcel tax in February and decided on a bond measure March 9 to get it on the June 8 ballot.
But the measure has garnered many endorsements, including dozens of organizations representing thousands of parents such as the Mt. Diablo Council of PTAs (representing 5000+ members), the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation and parent clubs from 26 schools.
Do you agree with the board’s decision to seek a bond measure over a parcel tax? (A parcel tax needs two-thirds of voter support compared to 55 percent for a bond measure.)
Do you agree with the board’s decision to structure the bond with lower annual payments and a larger overall cost spread over 42 years (as opposed to doubling the annual tax rate, but reducing the overall cost by about $1 billion and shortening the payoff time)?

Measure C improvements by type

Measure C summary by school

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