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PUSD board discusses upcoming security fencing projects

Targeted construction start date of spring break at Fairlands, Mohr, Harvest Park

A presentation and discussion on security fencing at three Pleasanton Unified campuses dominated a relatively brief school board meeting Tuesday night.

New fencing at Fairlands Elementary, Mohr Elementary and Harvest Park Middle School was part of the modernization item on the Measure I1 facilities bond approved by voters in 2016. Because the board deemed the security fencing to be a matter of high importance, the projects were separated from the complete Facilities Master Plan update approval to allow construction to begin more expediently.

“A reminder, we expedited those three sites, because those are the three sites that currently have classrooms that open to the public,” said presenter Nick Olsen, director of facilities and construction.

The projects at the three sites will involve installing new fencing and replacing existing sections in need of repair, in order to ensure that security fencing is in place around classrooms and play areas currently open to the public sidewalk and, in the case of Mohr, Amaral Park, district officials say.

Fencing at the three campuses was designated earlier this year to receive $1.5 million from the bond’s first issuance -- alongside the $10 million allocated to replace portable classrooms at Amador Valley and Foothill high schools, another modernization project that had been separated from the complete Facilities Master Plan update approval because of deemed urgency.

In May, HKIT Architects were approved for the fencing projects, and over the summer, district staff and the architects met to plan with different stakeholders potentially affected by the fencing, including site administrators, the city of Pleasanton, Zone 7 Water Agency, the maintenance department, Kids Club and the facilities subcommittee. Planning discussions covered a variety of considerations, Olsen said, ranging from talks on how fence placement would affect students lining up for lunch to the best gate placement when considering schools' PE programming.

In project planning, staff also established new fencing standards, to be applied going forward across district sites: they decided fencing at the front of a school should be an ornamental metal black fence and a galvanized chain link fence at the back and sides of a school.

During a short board discussion after the presentation, Trustee Joan Laursen cautioned that the district would need to make absolutely sure that schools were properly staffed to lock and unlock the new fencing at the appropriate hours.

“I’m happy that we’re doing the fencing work,” Laursen said. “But I just want to make sure that we’re going to have enough staff that we’re going to be able to make sure the gates are open for students to come and leave, and that they get locked again.”

The project has been somewhat delayed by unexpected requirements from the Division of the State Architect (DSA), Olsen said. While initially staff intended to start construction during winter break, because the DSA has decided they need to complete additional fire and life safety and structural reviews, the projects now have a targeted construction start date of spring break.

No actions were taken on this item at the meeting, as the presentation was just an update.

In other business

* The board opened the meeting by recognizing students who had been nominated by their teachers for demonstrating the character trait of “responsibility.” After these recognitions, the initially packed board room emptied out.

They also honored Mark Gonzalez, who recently retired from his position as director of the Northern California Cement Masons, due to his partnership with the district and work with students in the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program.

* Trustees voted 4-0, with Trustee Jamie Yee Hintzke absent, to pass a resolution recognizing Oct. 8-12 as Week of the Administrator.

* Board members unanimously approved a resolution certifying the sufficiency of TK-12 textbooks and materials and availability of science equipment.

* The board approved the $172,000 bid from Opening Technologies to install upgraded door equipment at Foothill High School, after a few hiccups in the year-long bidding process.

Initially, bidding for the project was initiated in August 2017, but when the project cost came in higher than expected, all bids were rejected and the project was re-scoped. The bidding process began once again in May, and a month later the district awarded Bobo Construction with the contract to complete the upgrades, which include the installation of accessible locks at several locations on campus.

But district staff expressed concerns when Bobo Construction said more work might be necessary, so both groups agreed to rescind the previously approved contract, and staff then went to the second-lowest bidder, Opening Technologies, who agreed to honor their original bid.

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