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
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
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
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
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
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
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.