School board talks Lydiksen rebuild’s initial design

Enrollment data, MAP approval, recognitions among other topics

A rendering of the conceptual design for the Lydiksen modernization project. (Image courtesy of PUSD)

The Pleasanton school board reviewed the conceptual design for the Lydiksen Elementary modernization project Tuesday night, a design that district officials said was created in collaboration with the school community and faculty.

Staff presented the design to the board at a 3-1/2-hour-long meeting, alongside the architects who won the bid for the project, Aedis Architects. The renovation, they say, will emphasize the natural beauty of the campus, create 21st century and collaborative classrooms and decrease nearby traffic congestion by adding in a second student drop-off zone.

“When Lydiksen was designed, it was the 1960s, when most people walked or bused to school, so they had a shorter drop-off lane,” said Nick Olsen, director of facilities and construction for the district. “And now everybody drives to school, and it backs up onto Foothill Road.”

No action was taken at this time, with the board members receiving the presentation and then offering comments and questions. The design will return to the board for possible approval on March 13.

The Lydiksen Elementary rebuild is among the projects included in the initial $70 million Measure I1 bond issuance authorized by the board in August, with $30 million earmarked for the Lydiksen project. About a third of that amount would go toward soft costs like pre-construction services and furniture while the rest would cover construction, according to staff.

A campus committee consisting of Lydiksen staff, parents and district staff worked with the architects to put together the conceptual design.

The proposed additional drop-off and parking space would be located alongside Sandalwood Drive, with space for the addition taken out of the adjacent turf field.

In order to create more collaborative spaces, staff and Aedis Architects decreased the total number of regular TK-5 classrooms from 29 to 25, and added an extra 270 square feet for collaboration to classrooms for grades 1-5.

In their push to emphasize the “natural beauty” of the campus and surrounding areas, the conceptual design proposes an outdoor sort of “academic quad,” along with a paved “symbolic arroyo” running through the campus, said Thang Do, chief executive officer of Aedis.

“The idea here is to create a lot of open space, to preserve the natural asset of the site, and to bring in what is beautiful about Pleasanton – the hillsides all around there – into the campus,” Do said.

Board vice president Valerie Arkin expressed some concern about the reduction of turf field in order to make way for the drop-off.

Lydiksen Principal Jake Berg, who was on the panel of presenters, said the field reduction would not pose a problem based on present use.

“I would say that even on the busiest days, like field day or fun run, things like that – our field is very large, it does not get fully utilized ever,” Berg said.

Staff added that they will be discussing the field reduction with the city of Pleasanton as well, which also uses the field for various activities.

During public comments on this item, Erica Holdren, a Lydiksen parent and neighbor of the school, said she was excited for the project, but also was apprehensive about how the new drop-off zone would affect traffic on her street.

“I am concerned with the change in traffic patterns. If we do it without a traffic study right now -- Sandalwood is a smaller residential street compared to Highland Oaks,” Holdren said, referring to the street adjacent to the existing drop-off location.

“It wasn’t clear in the letter home, I would like there to be a chance for the traffic study to be done, and neighbors to know what’s coming,” she added.

Though not specifically responding to Holdren, trustee Jamie Hintzke encouraged parents and community members to take a look at schools that do already have two student drop-off zones, like Alisal and Hearst elementary schools.

“Because it really works great,” Hintzke said.

Principal Berg also added that a good deal of student drop-off and pick-up already happens along Sandalwood.

Other modifications proposed include the construction of an outdoor covered lunch structure and creating additional space for an administration building, separate from the library and campus center.

Staff added that they are looking to minimize interim housing during construction, and keep classes in their rooms for as long as possible.

If approved in March, the schematic design phase will begin immediately, followed by construction drawings, six months of review by the Division of the State Architect, and another two or three months for bidding and approval.

Staff anticipates that construction will begin summer 2019, with students and staff moved into the first completed classrooms by fall 2020.

In other business

*Staff from the student support services department presented enrollment data gathered over the course of five years, including from the 2017-18 school year thus far.

As of Feb. 20, district enrollment stands at 14,958, 112 students more than were enrolled as of October 2017. Over the past five years, Pleasanton Unified saw an enrollment dip between 2013 and 2017, but this school year numbers are back around their 2012-13 levels.

Ethnically, the district has seen some demographic shifts as well in the past five years – most noticeably, a 10% increase in Asian students and a 10% decrease in white students.

The annual demographer’s report and projections will be presented at the March 13 school board meeting.

*The board unanimously approved the pilot program of a new assessment system to take place this spring. The system, called MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress), was discussed more intensively at the last school board meeting, at the pilot’s first reading.

Staff hope that MAP could streamline the assessment process for teachers and evaluate students more accurately through its adaptive structure.

*Trustees heard the first reading of updates to board policies and administrative regulations, to match the most updated state regulations.

Among the updates, included clarifying volunteer screening processes, grades and evaluation procedures, student conduct at extracurricular events and updating student testing policies to incorporate the CAASPP, the new state assessment.

*The meeting opened with three recognition presentations.

A handful of students were honored with character awards, after their teachers nominated them for demonstrating exemplary honesty in the classroom.

Several teachers who had earned citizenship over the course of the past few decades were recognized, including Foothill High Principal Sebastian Bull, who was born in England and officially became a U.S. citizen in 2005.

And finally, the two competitive civics teams from Amador and Foothill were recognized for having taken first and second, respectively, at the state “We the People” competition on Feb. 1-2. Both teams will go on to represent California at nationals in Washington D.C. at the end of April.

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4 people like this
Posted by MakesNoSense
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Mar 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

When spending public money, I'd like to think that those in charge would have distributed the money based on the ability to support or provide benefit to the most within the community. This spending decision demonstrates a lack of understanding how to best spend tax dollars and will likely 'deep six' the possibility that any future bond passes. Too bad, there are plenty of projects across the district that could have all been started instead of one big project at a single site that serves, what 1/5 of the community.

3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Mar 5, 2018 at 7:45 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

All great principles to incorporate into the NEW school we voted on

2 people like this
Posted by Linda
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Mar 13, 2018 at 12:41 pm

I love the fact that they disregarded notifying any of us who live on Sandalwood Dr. who look out at the field every day and bought our homes for the view. Now we have to look out at a parking lot and cars and deal with increased traffic on our small residential street. Why were we not notified of this? It will also reduce our property value!

Like this comment
Posted by grish
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2018 at 10:15 pm

Turning out a web based version for its million Instagram customers Web Link that opted to register their account by doing this.

Like this comment
Posted by False News & Alternative Facts
a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 15, 2018 at 6:53 am

to: Posted by Linda

PUSD stated that the local HOA has been notified.

No negative comments were received.


2 people like this
Posted by Janet
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 5:55 am

MakesNoSense: I am with you. Amador’s campus is a mess, and that school will have more than half the kids in our community go to it. Why did the district decide to sink all this money into one elementary school but leave our high school with a dilapidated gym, leaking roofs, chipped paint, wood rot, and a parking lot too small for the 2700 students who go there?!?

1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Mar 22, 2018 at 9:08 am

The administration spends its time on directing students to do things like "Wear PJs / Pajamas to School on Friday" rather than focusing on maintaining the schools. After all, how can you possibly explain the directive from the Harvest Park Middle School management for middle school students to wear pajamas yes pajamas, to school tomorrow, even if it is a violation of the so-called dress code listed on the exact same page that the students are told to wear PJs? See Web Link

Do you think that the entire Board and administrators would appear at a Board meeting all dressed in pajamas? Nope. The directive for students from PUSD to wear pajamas - Friday 3/23: PJ Day - has nothing to do with Diversity or Spirit. It is just plain weird and creepy.

In the meanwhile, painting, replacing rotted wood, cleaning the gym, re-striping the parking lot and fixing holes in roofs are routine operational and maintenance expenses that should not require hundreds of millions of dollars in bond money. The fact is that the teachers union siphons off most of operational expenses and the sites look dilapidated because of intentional mismanagement of funds by the Board because any excess operational funds are spent sending teachers and administrators to conferences or paying outside consultants like lawyers.

Because they never do maintenance each school ends up eventually having to be bulldozed and rebuilt from the ground up. And from the looks of the Lydiksen plans, the rebuilt school is actually planned to smaller than the original school.

The question to ask the Board where do the maintenance funds go and why do the schools never get maintained?

Like this comment
Posted by False News & Alternative Facts
a resident of Mission Park
on Mar 22, 2018 at 7:43 pm

to: posted by Janet

The stated reason Lydiksen was a priority was that the 1998 bond money ran out before any improvements could be made to the Lydiksen campus.

And the Lydiksen PTA was an active participant in a vote YES on Measure Measure I1


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