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PUSD board reviews Measure B projects

Plumas Unified School District Board of Directors held a special meeting Sept. 25 to update the status and get further direction on the district’s remaining Measure B projects.

Kevin Nolen of CRM (Construction Resource Management) Group is running all of the projects. He was on hand to offer information and advice as the board went through the list of proposed projects for every school in the District.

Chester Jr./Sr. High School

Discussion about Chester Jr./Sr. High School and Chester Elementary School projects took up most of the time during the meeting. Chester/Lake Almanor Board representative Traci Holt had some specific ideas regarding the projects she viewed as most important after doing site visits at both schools.

Holt felt that replacing the gym floor was the top priority. Nolen said this should be a “stand alone project,” not dependent on hardship funding. The board agreed and voted to proceed with this project.

Holt also wanted to look into the possibility of adding an expansion to the weight room to the list of projects. She said all teams use the weight room, “which is great, but it’s a hazard — there are too many kids in a small space.”

If expanding the weight room in the gym wasn’t possible, then she suggested purchasing “a couple of modulars.”

Nolen explained that expanding space within the gym could invite problems, including a potential DSA (Division of the State Architect) review, which Nolen said would likely triple the cost and slow down the project.

He liked the modular building idea, but said there would be additional costs for ramps and a building that could carry the roof load required to withstand Chester’s winter season. He said he’d look into this option and get back to the board with a cost estimate.

After discussion, Board President Leslie Edlund asked Nolen to look into both options and return to the board with a summary in the near future.

Holt also wanted to push the tennis court resurfacing project. The board agreed to a resurfacing that would keep one tennis court and have the other striped for pickle ball. Holt said she hoped that the community would also be enticed to use the courts.

Chester Elementary School

Holt said after her site visit at Chester Elementary School, she felt they should hold off on any new flooring “at this point in time.” She also said that exterior playground restrooms, at a cost of $2.1 million, was too expensive.

The board, led by Holt, then focused on upgrades that had security in mind. She requested a gate where the buses enter campus. “In my opinion, the most vulnerable portion of the campus is still wide open,” said Holt and added that parents have brought this up to her on multiple occasions.

The board agreed that PUSD’s maintenance team would install a man gate into the fence at the back of the playground, which will be kept locked, with staff carrying keys for the lock. In addition they asked the maintenance team to get information regarding pivot gates for the bus loop.

In a sign of the times, board members also talked about safety measures for the front entrance of the school. These included a window that would allow school personnel to see an approaching intruder, creating an area where visitors would be buzzed in to campus, and replacing traditional key lock doors with card keys, since key codes could be readily changed.

Quincy Jr./Sr. High School

Board President Edlund said athletic field upgrades were a priority. The fields are flooding, she said, and the track has potholes and is unsafe. Nolen said the architects and engineers had been out recently, and they were “coming up with a cheaper plan.” He concurred, however, that repairing the track was of highest priority.

The board didn’t make a final decision regarding the new marquee at the school. At issue were height (a sign raised to 8 feet added $20,000 to the cost), and placement. The board agreed that Nolen and CRM would work with the principals of all schools regarding placement of the marquees.

In addition, the board chose to defer making any long-term decisions about utilizing an alternative power source for the campus. Instead, for now, they agreed to simply replace the diesel fueled HVAC units that needed it.

Finally, “curb appeal” upgrades would be limited to a “facade only makeover” that would come in at around $300,000 and would focus on the fronts of the cafeteria and the gym. Nolen said he would come back with recommendations.

Greenville Jr./Sr. High School and Greenville Elementary School

There was great concern about water under the new gym. Nolen said they were doing exploratory work to determine where the water was coming from.

The board agreed to replace bathroom partitions and fixtures. Nolen said he would come back with pricing and options for “curb appeal” at the school.

Portola Jr./Sr. High School

The board agreed to go ahead with floor tile abatement and new flooring in the culinary arts building. They agreed, however, that the price was high, and asked Nolen to come back with something more reasonable. He said the tile is made of asbestos, so there is necessary abatement work, but he agreed the project estimate of $150,000 was high.

Nolen said he would bring estimates and choices back to the board for replacing the “crumbling” stairs and railing at the front of the campus.

The board agreed to paving one parking lot and asked Nolen, again, to come back with a quote for paving the dirt lot where students park.

Phase 1 of the new baseball and softball fields involves site work that includes clearing boulders and removing a hillside. It was approved previously and has been underway for some time.

Nolen and the board agreed, however, that some of the more expensive versions of projects the school had asked for in Phase 2, which included an ADA parking lot and bathroom, bleachers, fencing, backstops, bullpen, batting cage and scoreboards could be scaled back.

Nolen said he thought he could complete a less expensive version of Phase 2 for around $500,000-$750,000 and that he’d bring back a new Phase 2 estimate “in that budget range.” He believed he could have the work completed by the end of this year.

C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School, Portola

The Board agreed to replace the school’s siding, which failed “because we didn’t maintain it,” said board member Jolene Cline.

Nolen agreed to bring back siding samples of better quality than what is currently on the building. In addition, he said, they’ll start replacing school carpeting three rooms per year as part of an ongoing plan.

Feather River Middle School, Portola

The board agreed to demolition and abatement projects at the upper building and building C. They would leave the bottom building alone.

“Those were beautiful,” lamented Cline. “They have built in wooden cabinets.”

They agreed to look at the buildings before they were demolished to see if there was anything worth saving. Cline said she wouldn’t go in alone, however.

“It’s haunted,” Englund joked.

Cline, Englund and board member Dwight Pierson agreed to tour the buildings together.

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