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School board approves $1.6 million to remediate Quincy school sites, continues reprioritization process

CJSHS Principal Terry Hernandez, left, looks on May 8 during the school board meeting in Chester as Project Manager Kevin Nolen outlines features of the Measure B baseball and softball field improvements proposed at Portola Junior-Senior High for PUSD Trustees Joleen Cline and Traci Holt. Photo by Roni Java

The Governing Board of Trustees for Plumas Unified School District voted 5-0 on May 8 to approve $1.6 million in Measure B bond expenditures for change orders and new work on three school sites in Quincy. In addition, other projects were green-lighted, too, while some were held for more information.

Meeting in Chester for their regularly scheduled board meeting, the trustees also heard a big-picture, school-by-school overview and budget discussion of Measure B site improvement projects from PUSD Project Manager Kevin Nolen.

Currently about $10 million into the multi-year Measure B site improvements effort, the trustees had hoped to begin reprioritizing the district’s projects.

The potential price tag raised in the overview list was hefty. Still, there was good news in the update.

Quincy Elementary work

Faced with substantial mold-rehabilitation needs at the well-loved Quincy Elementary School, School Board President Leslie Edlund and Trustees Dwight Pierson, Joleen Cline, Dave Keller and Traci Holt, clerk of the board, approved two change orders and six new bids to continue remediation at the site. All of the projects address the mold issue.

Wike Construction will demolish concrete walkways ($50,000) and demolish some interior framing ($5,500). Ark Design Construction and Roofing will provide roofing remediation work ($414,638).

Lakmann Construction is contracted for rough and finish carpentry ($749,000). Joe Branch Electric will do electrical work ($165,000).

Sierra Pacific Windows will perform mold remediation work both on all fixed and operable windows except the corridors ($198,568) and on the corridor windows ($8,130).

Lastly, Mohammed Maybed will be contracted to serve as the California Department of the State Architect (DSA) inspector of record ($105/hour).

Pioneer Elementary School

Wilburn Construction will handle additional concrete and asphalt paving costs for a wide curb and “saw joints” at Pioneer Elementary in East Quincy ($14,198).

Quincy Junior-Senior High

Two projects at Quincy High will begin to address drainage needs in the athletic fields.

NCE Engineering has estimated an additional cost for a driller to do test holes ($13,120). Petit Construction will demolish the greenhouse and some chain link fencing, and replace the baseball field backstop, downspout and 75-inch soffit ($16,040).

Feather River Middle School

The school board members also Okayed requesting an abatement contractor for a price quote to test the old Feather River Middle School as part of ongoing considerations to demolish a section or sections of the building.

New marquee signs on order

Referring to his extensive projects inventory (both current and potential), and with summer fast approaching, Project Manager Nolen asked the school board to approve placing orders for the electronic marquee signs that all four elementary and four junior-senior high schools are excited to be receiving as part of their Measure B site improvements.

The school principals have previously spoken at board meetings to explain how the modern message signs will improve school communications with families and their communities.

There are concerns from the trustees about the potential total costs to acquire the signs and securely install them.

Each site in Chester, Greenville, Portola and Quincy will have individual needs in terms of terrain, sign height, locations, soil and stability so the installation prices will vary. Nolen estimated total costs to buy the marquees and put them in with permitting and other needs addressed could run upwards of $400,000 or more.

The trustees approved ordering the marquees. Then they directed Nolen and the Plumas County Office of Education staff to return with estimated installation prices (including landscape design). The board members indicated they would need to approve those expenditures before proceeding further with the actual work of placing/installing the electronic signs. Cost savings are anticipated if the multiple installations can be combined into one.

Looking at future needs

Plumas County’s elementary and junior-senior high school sites are geographically spread out across the region and many of them are housed in older facilities that need refurbishing and upkeep.

Thanks to the approval of $50 million in Measure B bond monies with a 10-year draw down that was okayed by local voters in 2016, the PUSD school sites are getting a new lease on life.

Project Manager Nolen is overseeing all of the repairs, remediation and renovation work in each location.

While they are currently undergoing a wide range of critical updates and improvements — from electrical work and abatement for mold, asbestos and lead to roofing, energy efficiencies and a whole lot more — Nolen keeps the big picture in mind at all times.

What will these sites need this year, next year, five years from now?

It was that issue that he brought before the school board during its extended public meeting May 8, showing potential phases for long-range projects stretching hypothetically into 2024 and perhaps beyond.

Big picture planning, budgeting

At the Chester meeting, Nolen took the trustees through his overview of current and recommended priority projects at the area schools.

The work ranged from things happening right now such as new flooring or carpet to lighting, paving, painting and other necessities.

The overview also looked at long-range needs he knows the facilities will require at some point like rehabs of kitchens, administrative areas, locker rooms and more. Paving upkeep will be an expensive, ongoing need in these mountainous conditions.

The price tag was steep: PUSD projects could run as much as $142.7 million in site needs without relief from qualifying state reimbursements.

There was good news in Nolen’s report. If PUSD did qualify for potential state reimbursements, the costs could drop to $81.2 million.

And the better news? If the district could qualify for “hardship funding” from the state (something that is possible to receive, but more difficult to get and there are no guarantees) PUSD could be looking at needs costing much less out of pocket, closer to $25.9 million, Nolen’s charts showed.

That’s over and above what the district has already spent, the project manager told the school board.

Ultimately, the school board decided they would have to set a new meeting to take another run at reprioritizing Plumas County’s Measure B school site improvements.

The trustees were united in their decision to take more time to look deeply at their overall Measure B efforts — what’s been accomplished so far (and spent to date), what has been bid and committed to (at what estimated cost), and what needs are left to be addressed (and what might those cost)?

So the big-picture discussion was held over to a future meeting where these and other questions can be considered. The district will announce the meeting and more information is available at 283-6500.

After the meeting closed for the evening, Nolen fielded a few last questions for clarification and commented, “These are old facilities. What are you going to do with them? Some of the things on this list you may never have to do (but should look at and plan for). Those huge numbers at the bottom of the list, those are the what-ifs.”

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