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School District Kicks off $30M in School Overhaul Projects

First week of week sees loads of activity at Edna Maguire, Park and Strawberry Point schools and plenty of people unaware of the construction’s impact on access to those campuses.

Construction workers did a double take Tuesday afternoon when a parent drove up to the campus, which is entirely blocked off by a high chain-link fence due to the that began this week, sent her son to move the fence, and then drove onto the campus to drive her son to soccer camp on nearby Alto Field.

Workers shared that account this week not too embarrass the parent but to highlight what they say has been an apparent lack of awareness of how the 's  will impact public access to at least three of those campuses.

“We need to increase the awareness of our community that the construction is happening and that for their safety, they must remain outside the construction fencing,” said Tim Ryan, the district’s director of maintenance and operations. “While people have historically used out schools as playgrounds and pathways, for this summer they are not able to gain access through our campuses.”

For instance, Ryan said, parents needing to drop their children at soccer camp at Alto Field should go through Scott Valley to do so, not through the Edna campus.

The district kicked off construction projects at Edna, , and elementary schools this week, as well as , where four new modular classrooms are being delivered on July 9 to accommodate booming enrollment.

The work at Edna throughout the summer and for the next 18 months will be the most intense of the bunch, while projects at Park and Strawberry Point are also quite large.

But because of provided by contractors, modernization work at Tam Valley, Park and Strawberry Point were scaled back to get the $8.2 million estimate for those projects closer to the district’s $4.6 million budget, Ryan said.

Those reductions include parking lot upgrades and lunchtime shade structures at Park, covered walkways and bike and pedestrian improvements at Tam Valley and new kitchens and bathrooms at Strawberry Point. Turf around play structures at Park and Strawberry Point have also been eliminated. Tam Valley took the biggest hit, with the original $1.5 million second phase of work being trimmed to a mere $250,000.

Most of the projects are being paid for by Measure C, the $59.8 million bond voters approved in 2009 for overhauls at four elementary schools and the complete reconstruction of Edna Maguire. The district has dipped into its Fund 40, which contains the proceeds from the portion of the land sold to the city of Mill Valley to build the Mill Valley Community Center and can be used for capital improvements only, for work at the Middle School, Ryan said.

For Edna, Ryan said the district and Overaa Construction are still ironing out changes to the project that so far have whittled down a $5 million budget gap to a mere $150,000. He said he’d supply the school board with a list of the modifications at its June 27 meeting.

“Nobody’s pleased with the modifications,” he said. “We can no longer say that it’s things that people won’t notice.”

But as workers begin to demolish the school and for the 2012-2013 school year, Pete Norgaard, the project manager for district consultant Van Pelt Construction Services, said community access to the campus would be heavily restricted.

“This week has been a learning experience,” he said. “Next week there will be padlocks on all the gates.”

MarinT June 24, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Hey Tim - Are you not the guy who should be informing the public? Emailing just the parent community of Edna is too narrow - Broadcast my friend - Maybe an IJ advert!
Magoo June 24, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Was there ever an arrest for all those computers that were stolen? An inside job.
Jim Welte June 26, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Citizen: the lack of an arrest does not a conspiracy make. Let's refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations. If you have evidence to the contrary, please share them with the police department.

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