Ran: Poway News-Chieftan - Thursday, August 14, 2003

School upgrades unveiled


By: David Garrick


A local architect unveiled detained design plans and drawings Monday night for the first four projects that will be funded by the $198 million Poway Unified school bond.

Architect Jon Baker described every last nuance of the plans to members of the Citizens Oversight Committee, a seven-member volunteer panel overseeing expenditures of the bond money.

The school board and members of the public can see the designs next Monday night, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. at Morning Creek Elementary in Sabre Springs, 10925 Morning Creek Drive.

The four projects, which are slated to begin simultaneously next June and last 16 months, include dramatic renovations at Westwood Elementary School, Poway High School and Mt. Carmel High School, plus the razing and reconstruction of Midland Elementary School.
School officials have also announced that Twin Peaks Middle School will be the fifth school to be renovated.

Meanwhile, Barnhart Construction recently completed the very first project funded by bond money - $7.1 million worth of upgrades at several Poway Unified schools that include new fire alarms, new intercoms and new telephone/data equipment.

The 24 campuses slated for renovation will cost $187 million according to current plans, leaving the district $11 million in wiggle room if cost increase or problems arise.

Mark Claussen, a Barnhart official, said he keeps a picture of Bernardo Heights Middle School and Rancho Bernardo High School - the last two projects slated for bond-related renovations - in his office to remind himself to make sure there is enough money left for the later projects.
Baker, who is president and CEO of NTD Architects, said completely razing the old Midland campus is a departure from previous plans. Under the old plans, new buildings would have been erected on playgrounds while students continued to use the old structures, which would not have been torn down until the new buildings were ready.

Razing the site will make the project more expensive by $1.5 million, bringing the total cost to about $16.5 million.
Much of the extra cost comes from the need to house the students during construction. That will occur either at another elementary school nearby, or at a site the city of Poway has offered on Brighton Avenue, which is less than two blocks east of the current Midland campus. Portable classrooms will be used in either scenario.

The new Midland will feature two-story classroom buildings at the corner of Midland and Edgemoor streets.

The campus will be designed around a central courtyard and will include a library, amphitheater and centrally-located multi-purpose room.
The new Midland will go from 45,000 to 55,000 square feet. It will accommodate 744 students.

The parking lot, which will be in the southeast corner, will be much larger than before. One drawback is that the school will feature one less recreational field.

The $13 million Westwood renovations will consolidate its sports fields, which helps with supervision, Baker said. The school will be home to two new classroom villages so it can eliminate dozens of portable classrooms and continue to house nearly 900 students.

The renovation will also bring new restrooms, a new computer lab in the old library, a new library in the old multipurpose room and a brand new multipurpose room.

In addition, the school's severe parking shortage, which often requires tandem parking by staff, will be alleviated by adding many new parking spots.

The renovation at Mt. Carmel will not be quite as severe, but they will actually cost $34 million.
A new music building will be added, along with a new fitness science area and a new one-story classroom building near the existing science area.

In addition, many classrooms will be remodeled so that they are larger and feature windows.
The administration building will be totally remodeled, which will give the school better "street presence" along Carmel Mountain Road, Baker said.

The $37 million Poway High renovations will feature new buildings on the west side of campus, lots of new windows in older classrooms, a new multipurpose room, better traffic circulation and a square footage increase from 220,000 to 245,000 square feet. In addition, the gym will be renovated and more than 30 portable buildings will be removed.