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City schools continue to benefit from Prop MM funds

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Since August of 2004 the San Diego City Schools (SDCS) have refinanced $782 million in Proposition MM bonds, and along the way been slapped with two lawsuits.

The two-story Normal Heights Elementary School campus will include 28 classrooms, a library, multipurpose room, state-of-the-art technology, energy- efficient design features and a grass playfield.

Proposition MM, which passed by 78 percent of San Diego voters in November 1998, is a bond measure that provides the San Diego Unified School District with $1.51 billion in bonds toward the rehabilitation of 161 existing school sites and construction of 15 new/rebuilt schools throughout San Diego.

In June, San Diego City Schools (SDCS) refinanced $163 million of bonds, by taking advantage of lower interest rates, which saved taxpayers $13.9 million in future interest costs, according to Scott Patterson, chief financial officer for SDCS. In March, $313 million of bonds were refinanced and saved taxpayers $22.6 million in future interest costs. Lastly, in August 2004, $306 million of bonds were refinanced and saved taxpayers $26.3 in interest costs. This totals $62.8 million in taxpayer savings, which go directly back to taxpayers as a dollar for dollar reduction of Proposition MM property tax levies.

According to Patterson, the SDCS has one more issuance to complete this year, which will be around late August, and that a specific time for when all bonds will be refinanced is still up in the air.

"It's tough to tell the context of it. It's a matter of if the interest rate environment turns in our favor. We're always pulsing the market to see if the time's right," Patterson said. "It's amazing we were able to do it [refinancing] in a rising interest environment."

The refinancing effort has earned Proposition MM the 2005 Grand Golden Watchdog Award, the highest award given by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

There are currently 10 new school projects under way, and 19 rehabilitations involving classroom additions and building renovations. Most of the dollar volume of work is involved in the new school projects, according to Bovee. Lincoln High School is the largest major project and is being constructed by D.E. Barnhart Inc.

Progress report

* 94 schools are substantially complete

* 90 libraries

* 68 instructional support space

* 35 science buildings (classrooms/labs)

* 14 permanent classrooms buildings (to replace portables)

* 110 lunch court shelters

* 132 painted exteriors

* 49 schools re-roofed

* 153 playground units

Profiles of new and rebuilt schools

Cherokee Point Elementary

* Opening Sept. 2005 (on time)

* Partners: Erickson-Hall, HMC Architects

* Construction method: Design/Build

* Board approval of site: June 2001

Herbert Ibarra Elementary

* Opening Sept. 2005 (on time)

* Partners: douglas e. barnhart, Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke

* Construction method: Design/Build

* Board approval of site: Nov. 2001

Golden Hill Elementary

* Opening: Jan. 2006 (originally Sept. 2005)

* Delays caused by severe winter rainstorms. Proposed plan is to open mid-year with Brooklyn ES students.

* Partners: Soltek Pacific, HMC Architects

* Construction Method: Design/Bid/Build

* Board approval of site: Sept. 2001 and June 2002

Walter Porter Elementary

* Opening: Jan. 2006 (originally Sept. 2005)

* Delays caused by severe winter rainstorms. Has resulted in compressed schedule with no flexibility to cover future delays. Proposed plan is to open mid-year with Kennedy ES students.

* Partners: Soltek Pacific, Modtech, R.J. Maus Architects

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build

* Board approval of site: April 2003

Future Thurgood Marshall Middle

* Opening: Sept. 2007 (originally Sept. 2006)

* Delays caused by severe winter rainstorms, unexploded ordnance (UXO) removal required by Dept. of Toxic Substances Control, and resolution of western swale/U.S. waterway required by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

* Partners: Soltek Pacific, Trittipo Architects

* Construction method: Design/Build

* Board approval of site: April 2002

* Will subsequently delay the transfer of EB Scripps Elementary to the old Marshall Middle to Sept. 2008.

Laura Rodriguez Elementary

* Opening: Sept. 2007 (originally Sept. 2006)

* Schedule impacted by extensive soil removal required by Dept. of Toxic Substances Control and modular construction issues

* Partners: Edge Construction, Platt/Whitelaw Architects

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build

* Board approval of site: April 2003

Jonas Salk Elementary

* Opening: Sept. 2007 (originally Sept. 2006)

* Schedule impacted by vernal pool/fairy shrimp mitigation, requiring revisions to mitigation plans required by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Site reconfiguration/redesign is also required, necessitating reapproval by Division of State Architect. A Sept. 2007 opening is contingent on USFWS'timely approval of mitigation plans.

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build

* Board approval of site: Sept. 2003

Lincoln High (rebuild)

* Opening: Two small high schools to open in Sept. 2006 (at risk for delay); two to open in Sept. 2007.

* Schedule impacted by dissolution of modular contractor, requiring classroom redesign. Has resulted in compressed schedule with no flexibility to cover future delays.

* Partners: douglas e. barnhart (GC and CM Multi-Prime), Martinez + Cutri Architects

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build & CM Multi-Prime

* Board approval of site: Sept. 2002

Normal Heights Elementary

* Opening Sept. 2006 (at risk for delay)

* Schedule impacted by dissolution of modular contractor, requiring classroom redesign. Has resulted in compressed schedule with no flexibility to cover future delays.

* Partners: Soltek Pacific (GC and CM Multi-Prime), Zagrodnik & Thomas Architects

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build & CM Multi-Prime

* Board approval of site: Dec. 2002

Florence Griffith-Joyner Elementary

* Opening: Sept. 2006 (at risk for delay)

* Schedule impacted by dissolution of modular contractor, requiring classroom redesign. Also, extensive public comment has impacted Dept. of Toxic Substances Control clearance of soil removal. Has resulted in compressed schedule with no flexibility to cover future delays.

* Partners: Erickson-Hall (GC), douglas e. barnhart (CM Multi-Prime), JCJ/Blackman Architecture

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build & CM Multi-Prime

* Board approval of site: Nov. 2002

Burbank Elementary (rebuild)

* Opening: Sept. 2007 (originally Jan. 2007)

* Burbank ES students were originally to be temporarily housed at old Mead ES. However, as Mead ES construction schedule is currently at risk, alternative temporary housing options for Burbank ES students are being explored.

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build

* Board approval of site: March 2003

Mary Lanyon Fay Elementary

* Opening: Sept. 2007 (on time)

* Construction method: Design/Bid/Build

* Board approval of site: June and August 2003

Memorial Area Middle School

* Opening: Sept. 2008 (at risk for delay)

* On hold pending Board approval of site

Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects (ZTA) has been selected by San Diego City Schools for architectural services on projects throughout 2006.

Some projects fall under Proposition MM, the $1.51 billion bond measure that is funding modernization, renovations and construction throughout the San Diego school district.

ZTA has designed many projects for the school district under the Proposition MM program, including a new elementary school in Normal Heights, said District Architect Jim Watts.

"We're very proud of the work we've done for San Diego City Schools and have enjoyed the opportunity to work with these San Diego communities on additions to their campuses," said Jean Zagrodnik, principal of ZTA. The designer handled the ground-up design on the new Normal Heights Elementary School, which held its groundbreaking in June. The school is slated to open in September 2006. The school will be a modern, aesthetically pleasing addition to the community, and it creates an important pedestrian link from the neighborhood to the adjoining public park, Zagrodnik said.

ZTA has completed $60 million in school construction projects under Proposition MM, including new libraries, science labs, lunch court shelters, classrooms and campuswide modernizations of existing schools.

Some of the school projects ZTA has worked on include new libraries and campuswide modernizations at Adams, Bayview Terrace, Bird Rock, Crown Point, Rolando Park and Valencia Park Elementary Schools; new two-story classroom and library building at Fremont Elementary; new 9,100-square-foot library, science lab expansion and modernization at Mission Bay High School; library and science lab expansions and modernization at Muirlands Middle School; and new science labs and outdoor "quad", classrooms, library expansion and modernization at Point Loma High.

General contractor Barnhart Inc. is under way on the reconstruction of Abraham Lincoln High School in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of San Diego.

Lincoln High School temporarily closed in June 2003 to prepare for demolition and total reconstruction. Once complete, the school will reopen and serve 2,800 students, more than doubling the capacity of the original campus. Completion is scheduled for September 2006.

The new campus will measure 24.4 acres and feature four separate schools, each with its own administrative, counseling, food service and science areas. The structures will total 323,196 square feet and feature 77 classrooms, 16 science labs, 8 science prep rooms, 7 technology labs, 6 conference rooms, 4 teacher prep areas, 2 multimedia classrooms, 2 mixed-media art centers, career center, shop with yard, ceramic art studio, and classrooms for drama, dance, band, choral, junior ROTC, physical education and a scene shop. A central kitchen, 790-seat auditorium, library and arts complex are also included. Athletic facilities include two gymnasiums (the original gym will be left intact), locker rooms, baseball fields, weight room, track, football field, raised sports deck, press box and concession stands.Project team members include San Diego City Schools, the Lincoln-Gompers Redevelopment Committee, Barnhart, Inc./Black IPO and Martinez + Cutri Architects.

Lincoln High School was originally constructed in 1949 and an addition was completed in 1959. Barnhart Inc. recently held a lunchtime outreach event for local contractors to increase awareness and encourage local participation in the project.

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