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School District Recommends $2.8 Million 1st Step to Rebuild Marin, Ocean View Schools

Draft layouts for rebuilding Marin and Ocean View elementary schools are being presented to the Albany school board Tuesday night for a possible vote on $2.8 million in architectural contracts for replacing the two schools.

One of the draft options from WLC Architects for the footprint of a new Marin Elementary School, contained in the agenda packet for the Albany school board meeting of Dec. 10, 2013.
One of the draft options from WLC Architects for the footprint of a new Marin Elementary School, contained in the agenda packet for the Albany school board meeting of Dec. 10, 2013.
The Albany Unified School District has released draft layouts of what Marin and Ocean View elementary schools might look like if rebuilt.

The draft plans are being presented to the Albany school board Tuesday night for a board decision on whether to authorize $2.8 million in architect contracts for rebuilding two seismically deficient elementary schools.

The district staff recommendation is to waive the RFP (Request for Proposals) process and go forward with contracts for architectural services from WLC Architects, which has already been working with the district on its overall Facilities Master Plan, including options for addressing the seismic problems at Marin and Ocean View.

The reason for the recommendation is "in order to approve proceeding with applying for seismic mitigation funding and financial hardship funding," according the recommendation prepared by district Superintendent Marla Stephenson.

The district lacks the necessary funds to rebuild the two schools and hopes to qualify for for state "seismic mitigation" funds and state financial hardship funds that could be used to bring the schools up to seismic code.

The district looked at the cost of seismically retrofitting the schools, but an assessment by WLC Architects found that the retrofit costs would exceed 50 percent of rebuild costs, thus making retrofitting ineligible under the rules for the special state funding, according to district staff.

The estimated construction cost of a new Ocean View school is $25,147,418, and the cost of a new Marin school is $21,402,421, according to Stephenson's recommendation report. 

Stephenson said costs of architectural services are about six percent of the estimated construction costs, which would be about $1.5 million for Ocean View and about $1.3 million for Marin, or a total of about $2.8 million.

Mixed signals have come from school officials about the seriousness of the seismic problems at the two schools.

report from Stephenson prepared for the board's Oct. 29 meeting said the district has "demonstrated that the facilities at Marin and Ocean View Elementary Schools must be repaired/replaced due to an imminent health and safety threat."

At the same time, a district "News and Announcements" web page quotes school board President Paul Black saying at an earlier board meeting that an initial study found "that there is no mortal danger to occupants of the buildings."

If the board approves contracting with WLC for the architectural services, the proposed contracts will be reviewed by legal counsel and brought back to the board on Dec. 19, Stephenson said.

The school board meeting, which also includes election of the new board president and vice president, begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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