By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
What would you do if you knew your roof needed repairs? Or if your home’s plumbing required work?
This was how Dr. Sue McCann, the assistant superintendent of business services, presented information to seek funding for district facilities at Tuesday’s Garden Grove Unified School District board meeting.
The facilities funding is meant to modernize the schools within the district using money from a bond measure that the board would have to get approved by community voters.
Many of the schools in the district were built using a State Facilities Fund that was driven by student enrollment growth. The oldest school in the district, Garden Grove High School, was established in1921 and has building dating back to the mid-Twenties.
However, most schools were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the youngest schools being built in the 1970’s.
The most recent update to the district was a new pool and locker rooms to Garden Grove High School. However the needs of campus infrastructure have been taken care of widely on a fixed-as-needed basis. So the management of problems has been responsive and not preventative.
To modernize school facilities it would cost an estimated $299 million for elementary schools, $97.7 million for intermediate schools and $239.6 million for high schools with a total of $636.4 million to cover the whole district.
The qualify as modernization, modifications must be made to permanent structures over 25 years old and portable structures that are at least 20 years old.
“We’re really overqualified for modernization,” said McCann.
With aging facilities there are issues with electrical systems, plumbing, structural repairs, the abatement of hazardous materials and keeping up with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA requires that bathrooms and classrooms be accessible to those who have disabilities, such as having the installation of ramps to classrooms.
Although the schools in the district are kept up by maintenance workers and the appearances are tended to, the infrastructure is said to need work.
“Almost everything under and outside our roofs need repairs,” said McCann, “It looks good on the outside but the infrastructure needs help.”
If the district received money to fund modernization of the infrastructure support systems the project would have time spans of 18 months to 3 years.
The bond process to get the money needed would next go to polling the community to see if they would even vote on a ballot initiative to put money towards modernization. Money from the state would have to be matched by the school district, which has some facilities funding money that they would be able to offer.
In order to win a bond vote, there must be a 55 percent positive vote in the next regular elections.
If there is found to be a largely positive response to an initiative ballot, then a campaign would have to be started by the community in order to make the idea a ballot-ready initiative. That initiative would be put on the ballot using funds from the school district, about $250,000.
But the next move is to conduct a survey to see if this idea can take off.
“If we don’t at least do a survey, then we won’t know,” said Superintendent Laura Schwalm.
“We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t initiate a survey,” said Board Member Bob Harden.