The decision came at a special board meeting at City Hall after Albany Unified School District Superintendent Marla Stephenson and an architectural consultant told the board that the cost of fixing the continuation school's many deficiencies – starting with a disconnected fire alarm system – would not be cost-effective when compared to the estimated cost of replacing it with portables.
Board members agreed that the decision to demolish MacGregor also included a pledge to develop a plan on where to move the students at MacGregor. The small school, located at the southeast corner of Brighton and San Gabriel avenues, had 28 students in grades 10-12 last school year, according to Ed-Data, an information website about California schools co-sponsored by the state Department of Education.
In a related the vote, the board approved a contract for $15,600 for WLC Architects to develop the demolition plans.
Stephenson told the board that she would return to the board at a future date with options for the types of "portable" buildings that could be placed on the site next summer in time for fall classes for the 2014-15 school year.
A Sept. 24 presentation to the board by Stephenson singled out converted import shipping containers from Growthpoint as a durable option, but Stephenson said Tuesday night that she will present options that include other types of structures that are generally referred to as "portables," including leased or purchased classroom facilities.
Board member Ronald Rosenbaum said he is opposed to moving the MacGregor students to Albany High. "We're hearing tonight Even though we unanimously decided that we were opposed at this time to MacGregor students being housed at the High School, now we're hearing that that's a very likely possibility."
The board vote did not include a decision on where MacGregor students would be placed in the 2014-15 school year.
Stephenson's recommendations for MacGregor presented at the Sept. 24 board included "replacing the facilities at the current site, and increasing the number of classrooms available to the High School and Middle School through the use of import shipping containers from Growthpoint," according to the minutes of the meeting.
Her assessment of MacGregor's problems presented Tuesday echoed those provided in her presentation last month, which that said MacGregor is "structurally and mechanically deficient" and lacks a fire alarm system. "Replacing the fire alarm system will trigger ADA and current code upgrades," the presentation said. "The cost of upgrading a campus that does not meet current and future educational needs is not a good investment for the District."
A rough estimate of the demolition cost is $2.5 million, Stephenson told the board last month.
The district will solicit demolition bids once the demolition plans are complete.
"These are bidding documents," said Leo Ray-Lynch of WLC Architects. The firm has been hired by the district also to help with the district's overall Facilities Master Plan.
At the end of the meeting, board member Jonathan Knight suggested that the agenda for the next board meeting include "our plan for community involvement in this entire architectural process."
At the same meeting, the board also approved a $48,000 contract for a cost-benefit analysis of how to address the seismic deficiencies at Marin and Ocean View elementary schools. See "Board Approves $48,000 Seismic Cost Study for Marin, Ocean View Schools."
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