By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
What lies down the road for Garden Grove schools is more of a question of what lies under that road. The top items that are being looked at for facilities updates that come from the Measure A improvements bond that was passed in June happen to be underground and in the walls.
Presented by Dr. Sue McCann, the assistant superintendent of business services and the new Director of Facilities, Stuart Moe, the board, staff and attendees got to hear just what is in store on the “Road to Modernization.”
First off is that the bonds for the facilities improvements measure sold at $130,000, which is the first match to the state funds that will be provided.
“We are currently working on project and construction managers,” said Moe.
The funds, once put into action, will be used to update facilities, literally starting from the ground up.
However, don’t expect schools to look radically different.
“Budget determines that we stick with the basics, no glitz, no glamour, no bling . . . don’t spend a lot of money to make it look all pretty, because this is an infrastructure project,” said Moe.
So what is being fixed?
The tops on the to-do list are new essential utility corridors, which are the underground trenches that contain the pipes and various systems that keep schools running.
Next are updated fire alarm systems, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant accessibility accommodations and safer school sites with updated utilities.
“This is what I like to call keeping the lights on,” said Moe.
Moe said that many of these improvements, once started, will be worked on when school is out, because the schools have to be essentially shut off to maintain these kinds of upgrades.
There will be code requirements to update and gas and plumbing fixes for schools, some of which are over 40 years old.
Additional services that can come, if the budgets allow, would be specific electrical service upgrades to meet the future needs of computers.
What are some of the hurdles?
“It’s expensive, because at every level, there are so many contracts you need to go through and each of those have ‘soft’ costs,” said Dr. Laura Schwalm, superintendent. Parceling out money on each level of a program will require that budgets are maximized and plotted out early to make sure the most is being made of every dollar.
Construction costs have been relatively level, according to Moe, however materials are what are becoming more expensive.
“Actual construction costs have been low over the last 24 months,” said Board Member George West.
“If the economy for construction stays where it is, we’re going to get a lot more for our money,” said Moe