A group of parents and staff members came to voice their frustration about the condition of the Amador Valley High School gym at an otherwise ordinary Pleasanton school board meeting last week.
During the non-agenda public comment portion earlier in the meeting May 21, several parents and athletic coaches said they were upset when they heard about plans to refurbish the sports fields at Foothill High School and Pleasanton Middle School while Amador's gym has needed repairs for years.
One woman told the board that the gym has "been a thorn in my side" since her child started attending Amador and that she wasn't happy about the gym being overlooked.
Another parent declared that "nothing's changed" since he was a student years ago at Amador. "I played in that gym ... and nothing's changed. It is worse now," Jeff Zane said. "And it's, quite frankly, a little bit of an embarrassment. Hopefully you can see it in your budget and in your hearts to upgrade that gym."
Amador head girls volleyball coach Prima Glorioso said the gym's current state is so bad that it's barely tolerable, even for coaches standing on the sidelines, and makes it "really uncomfortable for us to have our athletes in this environment."
"It's threatening to their well-being, and it makes us look really bad that we put them in this situation because we're saying it's OK by continuing to play in that gym," Glorioso said, adding that the lack of adequate cooling and ventilation inside discourages fans from attending games. Pest problems aren't helping matters either.
"I would have to pick up dead bees ... and they keep coming back because we haven't removed the hive," she said. "We have roaches, we have rats. It's disgusting, and it's not an environment where I feel like any child or parent or coach should be in, so please do something."
A petition signed by parents, students and coaches has been circulating recently, underscoring their disappointment with the gym.
Also during non-agenda comment, some Pleasanton Middle School staff and parents came to the mic to express their displeasure with the hiring process that was used to select the school's new principal.
Joe Nguyen, current principal at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon, will step into the position on July 1, succeeding retiring principal Jill Butler. Nguyen is a seasoned educator with more than a decade of classroom and administrative experience, but members of the campus community said they wanted to pick a leader already at PUSD.
A track record of familiarity with names, faces and issues among the student body was one of the reasons that several staff members and parents cited for wanting to hire from within the district. Parents also accused district decision-makers of disregarding Pleasanton community input during the hiring process.
In other business
* The Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation donated a record-breaking check to the district that night for $711,000 raised over the past year at various PPIE events, including the annual Run for Education.
Executive director Steve McCoy-Thompson told the Weekly that the contribution "represents the total amount PPIE is able to allocate to our schools this year, including funding for supplemental staff" such as librarians, support counselors and student intervention specialists, as well as STEAM grants and Black Tie bus transportation for fifth-grade outdoor education.
* The school board voted unanimously -- with Trustees Mark Miller and Joan Laursen absent -- to add nearly $95,000 more to the final tally for designing the planned rebuild and modernization project at Lydiksen Elementary School.
A design contract with AEDIS Architects was finalized last summer for $1.3 million, which covers " a combination of pre-engineered buildings solutions, conventional building solutions, as well a modernization solution" for the campus. The original price-tag was $1.06 million but "the addition of a modernization scope to Building E and the Multi-Purpose Building increased the design scope by $22,426," according to PUSD staff.
Plans to relocate and expand the Kids Club building by adjoining two modular buildings together and adding a new restroom and concrete foundation also increased costs at the time by an additional $33,710, although the scope of that work will be financed by Kids Club program funds instead of Measure I1 revenue.
The entire site plans are an estimated total of $30 million, which will also cover buying new furniture at approximately $16,500 to $21,000 per classroom, and will be paid for using funds from the Measure I1 school facilities bond.
Further approval of the Board Facility Subcommittee's recommendation in February to keep the number of classrooms at Lydiksen, repurpose one of the buildings by regrading around and painting its exterior, "and to see what work could be completed with the saving of not demolishing" the building have driven up the cost by $94,594.
The new contract with AEDIS is for a total of $1,480,804. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with PUSD aiming for completion of the overall project in the 2021-22 school year.
* Plans to refurbish the grass field at Pleasanton Middle School could take longer than expected after the district received only one bid last month. The board voted last week to reject the $1.04 million bid from Oakland-based Bay Construction Company, which was more than three times the $300,000 budget allotted for the project.
"The scope of work included removing the existing turf, leveling and grading the surface, and reseeding," according to district staff, who are exploring other options. The project would be funded by deferred maintenance funds and "a potential donation." No timeline for the work has been announced yet.