Schools could see modernization

That’s if $163 million bond passes in November
By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Phase one of a new high school, a new elementary school and school modernizations would be the focus if voters approve a $163 million school bond in November. That’s according to Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Scott Leaman, who said the construction of a pool at Lincoln High School would be “based on the amount of students and would not be the first thing” done with Measure J funds. Measure J is what the $163 million bond will be titled on the November ballot, and if approved by voters, would be used to fund existing school site improvements and the new elementary and high school needed in the district, according to previous News Messenger reports. The estimated cost of the pool is $5.3 million, according to the Lincoln High School Master Plan, and the pool would be built between the student parking lot and the football stadium. The estimated cost of a new elementary school for construction and land acquisition is $29 million, according to the district’s School Facilities Master Plan. The new school would be built on Caledon Circle in the Lincoln Crossing area. The facilities master plan was developed based on the suggestions of a facilities needs committee, according to previous News Messenger reports. “The facilities needs committee is made up of a principal, teacher, parent and classified employee from each school,” Leaman said. The committee spent from April 2009 until May 2010 discussing the needs of each school, according to Leaman. “Our elementary schools are almost at capacity,” Leaman said. “Lincoln Crossing Elementary School is at capacity and we’re sending 130 students to other schools.” Phase one construction and land acquisition of a new high school has an estimated cost of $38 million, according to the facilities master plan, and would be built near the Twelve Bridges Library. The facilities master plan gives a breakdown of “facilities improvements needed at existing facilities” and common categories of improvements needed are school modernization and school improvements. The schools listed as needing modernizations include Lincoln High School, Carlin C. Coppin Elementary, Creekside Oaks Elementary First Street School and Glen Edwards Middle School. Common modernization projects include safety and security upgrades, parking improvements and improved kitchen facilities. The estimated cost of modernization for district schools ranges from $1.4 million for Sheridan Elementary to $16.1 million for Glen Edwards Middle School. A school is eligible for modernization funds from the state if a permanent building is 25 years or older, with portable buildings required to be 20 years or older, according to the district’s superintendent of facilities and maintenance services Cathy Allen. Schools needing improvements include Foskett Ranch Elementary, Lincoln Crossing, Twelve Bridges Elementary and Twelve Bridges Middle School. All four schools opened within the past six years. Estimated improvement costs for elementary schools range from $400,000 for Twelve Bridges Elementary to $3 million for both Foskett Ranch and Lincoln Crossing Elementary schools. The News Messenger asked Allen why newer schools are listed as needing improvements. “I would identify those items the facilities needs committee identified as improvements to sites, like one might not have skateboard deterrents or maybe one school said they want a separate music room,” Allen said. Some improvements listed include acoustic upgrades and safety upgrades. The schools needing acoustic upgrades are Foskett Ranch Elementary, and Twelve Bridges Elementary and Middle Schools. “Twelve Bridges and Foskett Ranch were built with ceilings that could use some acoustical dampening in order to quiet each room down,” Allen said. “The way the ceiling is configured and how attached, the way the sound bounces off walls and hard surfaces affects how it carries through the wing.” Allen said safety upgrades include increased lighting, surveillance cameras and measures to protect students in the event of an intruder on campus. “Some schools don’t have ‘Columbine’ locks on doors, where a teacher can lock it (the door) on the inside, and some of our schools still have drapes, not blinds,” Allen said. She said a teacher could close the blinds to “close down the classroom” in the event of an intruder. “Safety is always the priority and safety is the highest priority,” Leaman said. The News Messenger asked residents in downtown Lincoln Wednesday morning if they support Measure J. “I wouldn’t support the bond because we should ask them where the money from the lottery has gone,” Robert Ingram said. When the California Lottery first started, Ingram said, some of the money was “supposed to go into schools.” Leaman said money from the lottery is used for district jobs and programs, not for facility needs. Donna Johson, a former teacher in the San Juan school district, said she’s for the measure. “As an ex-teacher, usually anything that’s to better education, I’m for,” Johnson said.