Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 21, 2013

Brick by brick

Tonight the School Board will meet to talk about, what else, the Historic Alameda High School under the “Shared Interests/Principles Meeting” headline.   Whatever that’s supposed to mean, I imagine that people will say the same thing that they’ve said at all the other meetings.

But I’m going to draw your attention across the Bay to San Mateo County where the passage of a two huge school construction bonds have amassed a staggering amount of money to renovate and modernize a ton of schools in that area.  From the San Mateo County Times:

The San Mateo Union High School District and San Mateo-Foster City elementary district are engaged in a building and renovation frenzy fueled by voter-approved bonds.

The money is coming from Measure M, a $298 million bond measure passed by voters in 2006.

Each high school in the district is being renovated thanks to Measure M except for Peninsula, the district’s continuation school. A newer bond measure — the $186 million Measure O, passed in 2010 — will pay for that.

District officials say the bonds were needed not because of state budget cuts but because of aging facilities, many of which were built more than 50 years ago.

The schools required basic physical improvements, but they also needed to be made into places where students can learn the skills they’ll need to thrive in a technology-driven world. Hence the robotics lab at Aragon High School, the green-tech classroom at Hillsdale and the animation studio at Capuchino.

Other Peninsula districts are pursuing the same goal. County voters approved more than $700 million in bonds since 2008 for schools’ capital improvements. That includes San Mateo-Foster City’s $175 million Measure L, which is funding major upgrades at Baywood Elementary and other schools.

And the construction boom is not limited to San Mateo County. In Santa Clara County, the Campbell Union School District just finished projects at Blackford Elementary School and Rolling Hills Middle School, using money from $150 million Measure G, and will construct new multiuse buildings at eight elementary schools over the next several years.

One of the renovated San Mateo County high schools should be of interest to Alameda.    In 2001 two buildings at San Mateo High School were  condemned  and in 2004 the District decided to tear down and rebuild the two buildings with slight modifications to the shape.   The construction recreated the original brick facade and cost the district around $30 million for the new construction (142,000 square feet).   To compare the HAHS square footage that is under discussion is only 75,000 square feet.   Portions of the torn down buildings were reused in the construction of the new library and media center for the High School (140,000 square feet) at a cost of $31 million.


  1. I was watching the footage from the Oklahoma tragedy, and hearing the reports about the flattened elementary school where children did make it to the basement but apparently drowned. i wondered if this was a design deficiency. I bet when that community rebuilds they will make the safety of children the highest priority. We should do the same in case of earthquake. If a bond issue were passed (very iffy and very expensive) almost every school in Alameda has repair needs and infrastructure needs (built more than 50 years ago). Old Alameda High is not even used for classes so it is not comparable to San Mateo schools. it would be ludricrous to put limited money into a renovation process for that site for aesthetic purposes only given the safety needs at other aging schools. Let the private developers have at it. The voter’s rejection of the new swim center and fire house boondoggle showed the voters have more sense than the politicians.

    Comment by Solidcitizen — May 21, 2013 @ 6:43 am

  2. So why should Alameda care what San Mateo County does? You keep trotting out spending statistics from wealthy areas in hopes, I guess, that somehow Alameda will be shamed into mimicking what someone else does..

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 21, 2013 @ 9:34 am

  3. Actually, it’s to show context of what Alameda has passed to what other communities have passed and how much money has been spent on projects that Alameda wants to complete. Measure C, comparatively was a drop in the bucket, yet some folks assumed that it would be able to do what other communities have done with a lot more money.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 21, 2013 @ 9:36 am

  4. Most of the voters only know what they were told by those promoting the legislation. Are you saying shame on them for believing it?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 21, 2013 @ 11:41 am

  5. Lauren What You Left out is We Already Passed a Bond is 2004 that equated to 94 Million

    “Alameda School Repair Measure” for Alameda High School and Historic Alameda High School.

    San Mateo is using their money on what the Residents Voted for.

    They have Nine High Schools in the San Mateo Union High School District and 21 Elementary Schools..

    The money is coming from Measure M, bond measure passed by voters in 2006.

    Each high school in the district is being renovated thanks to Measure M except for Peninsula, the district’s continuation school

    Aragon High School
    Burlingame High School
    Capuchino High School
    Hillsdale High School
    Mills High School
    Peninsula High School
    San Mateo High School
    Middle College
    Adult School

    Comment by This Time its Really For The HAHS No BS — May 21, 2013 @ 11:47 am

  6. Two Major Bonds Floated By the District With Major Selling Point Saving Historic Alameda High School

    Alameda County, CA March 2, 2004 Election
    Measure C
    Alameda Unified School District

    Alameda School Repair Measure. “To renovate aging neighborhood schools, improve student safety conditions, relieve classroom overcrowding, construct, equip, upgrade classrooms, facilities and sites, and qualify for over $17 million in State matching funds, shall the Alameda City Unified School District issue $63 million of bonds at legal rates, with annual audits and citizen oversight, with no proceeds going to the State and all funds remaining in Alameda to benefit neighborhood schools without increasing existing tax rates.
    Historic Alameda High School East Wing 1) Repair/replace roofing 2) Repair/replace heating, ventilation, electrical, plumbing systems 3) Repair/renovate classrooms, buildings, windows, walls/doors 4) Upgrade emergency/security/technology systems 5) Seismic retrofit, hazardous materials abatement, disabled access projects 6) Renovate restrooms
    Historic Alameda High School West Wing 1) Repair/replace roofing 2) Repair/replace heating, ventilation, electrical, plumbing, lighting systems 3) Repair/renovate classrooms, buildings, windows, walls/doors 4) Upgrade emergency/security/technology systems 5) Seismic retrofit, hazardous materials abatement, disabled access projects 6) Renovate restrooms
    Listed building, repair, and rehabilitation projects and upgrades will be completed as needed. Each project is assumed to include its share of furniture, equipment, architectural, engineering, and similar planning costs, construction management, and a customary contingency for unforeseen design and construction costs. The allocation of bond proceeds will be affected by the District’s receipt of State bond funds and the final costs of each project. The budget for each project is an estimate and may be affected by factors beyond the District’s control. The final cost of each project will be determined as plans are finalized, construction bids are awarded, and projects are completed

    A school bond for $47.6 million was passed in 1989 for repairs of all schools, building a new school on Bay Farm -Island and a new gymnasium at Alameda High School. Seismic work for Historic Alameda High School was included in this bond, however; after work was completed on the other schools, the balance was not sufficient to accomplish all the necessary work on Historic Alameda High School. A compromise was therefore made that only the central part of the Main Building including the Auditorium and the classrooms on the floors above would be retrofitted, restored, and renovated. There were insufficient funds to complete this project, so considerable funds were donated by the Foundation in order that this area could be restored and beautified with painting, carpeting, lighting, etc.

    Comment by This Time its Really For The HAHS No BS — May 21, 2013 @ 11:48 am

  7. Comment by frank — May 21, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  8. The Full Text of Measure C is here The Historic Alameda High School portions are part III of a three part list of facility repairs. Other repairs didn’t get completed either since there was no money left. I didn’t see the part that prioritized the HAHS fixes over the other schools, perhaps someone can point to that.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 21, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

  9. Here was the blurb from the ballot where folks would have checked yes or no, no mention of HAHS:

    To renovate aging neighborhood schools, improve student safety conditions, relieve classroom overcrowding, construct, equip, upgrade classrooms, facilities and sites, and qualify for over $17 million in State matching funds, shall the Alameda City Unified School District issue $63 million of bonds at legal rates, with annual audits and citizen oversight, with no proceeds going to the State and all funds remaining in Alameda to benefit neighborhood schools without increasing existing tax rates?

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 21, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  10. Comment by School Districts Great Deception Mantra — May 21, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

  11. Lauren Why Read The Ballot

    I had a great friend who worked with toughest and hardest youth segment in the Schools……He worked at Island High School which is a Continuation School and Was a ROP Teacher trying to get kids back on track and giving them life skills and possibly finding them employment after they have been kicked out of Mainstream Schools and get them also to finish High School. He also taught basic life skills like just how to make breakfast , how to apply for a job, How to show up for an interview, how to dress, how to cook meals and how to just survive if broke. Most of his kids were broke and came from broken homes and most didn’t have breakfast before coming to school.Ever.
    He also owned and ran a Restaurant at the same time and tried to train them and get them work around town through other friends in the business to give these kids a shot.
    Like any good program in California that Really Helps Kids and Trains them to live in real world , this was eliminated in California and 99.99999% of ROP teachers went the way of the Dinosaur.
    Now What the Hell Does this have to Do with Measure C and the Bond Issue and why would anyone know How and What they were targeting for the Bond Measure.
    This Teacher and His Students Were in Charge of Catering the Meetings For the Teachers Organizations and The District For Measure C.They received First Class catered food with No Labor Costs because they used the Teacher and His they used the food fund from his class to fund it.
    This fund that was used to buy food to teach students how to cook, they also made snacks for the school which they sold at breaks to help sustain it.
    But After these Catered Meals for the District and Teacher organizations meetings the fund was almost completely depleted. The District was very slow in attempting to payback after using this fund and was told to teach kids to cook using Videos because the district had no money to payback the food money they used for these meetings. He was able to get a token few dollars back but virtually gone.
    So What’s the Big Deal
    Well you are Teaching a class with 8 weeks to go in semester with No Money for Food and how to cook and Prepare food. Plus this was one of the best attended classes at Island because the kids actually got something to eat and learned how to prepare it. He was told to use workbooks , notes, and Videos went over like lead balloon and kids attendance dropped huge.
    When this happened the District main Concern was they were losing Money because the kids were not in Class and they were losing Revenue because they get paid by attendance.
    He would not Dummy Up his Attendance sheets and this was an issue. He was Caught in a Catch 22. Dummy attendance records or get phased out. Dummy up attendance records has other issues which he saw happen earlier at the School. I think a small group of Students were marked being in some other classes while these kids were caught breaking in houses at same time. Was just small oversight. Probably only time it happened.
    I will Wrap this up on Why Measure C
    We talked a lot about these meetings and what they were about.
    He Said they Are Doing 7 Five Color Brochures to get this thing passed and Focusing on Saving Historic Alameda High School as the Major Point.
    They are Going after the Senior Citizens and older Home owners Because they are the ones that will make this thing pass.
    He said I’m sacrificing all these kids Money to Get this thing Passed.

    Comment by Why Read The Ballot — May 21, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  12. My apologies for returning to the Backyard Farm Animal Issue. I’ve read a lot of inflammatory and outrageous libels on our city around the backyard animal issue, including some unlikely anecdotes that don’t ring true about our neighbors. I’ve read assertions that if we change and adapt a few of our existing laws about raising urban farm animals and bees, that Alamedans will somehow suddenly become bloodthirsty ritual killers.

    Remember, most of these animals area already allowed by law. Claiming that we shouldn’t adapt the laws to modern realities because Alamedans might suddenly start breaking state law and begin sadistically slaughtering animals is a little like saying we shouldn’t approve new traffic lights because more Alamedans might start driving drunk — it doesn’t even make sense as an argument, and it slanders the people who live here.

    Fact: the proposed law changes have absolutely no effect either way about slaughtering animals. If it’s illegal now, it will remain that way. All it does is tweak the ground rules a little. For example, when our current law was written, people had no idea that other folk might consider raising miniature “swine” as pets instead of giant porkers as meat.

    Fact: Alamedans can handle any problem that comes up. We don’t need the embittered, inflammatory, emotional arguments that plague Berkeley and Oakland about this issue (and just about every issue, it seems sometimes). We have a city government that works, that can enforce the new laws as well as it has enforced the old ones.

    Gabrielle Dolphin
    Resident of Alameda

    Comment by Rev. Gabrielle Dolphin — May 21, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  13. Apparently you failed to read the ballot and instead keep relying in your anecdotal stories and selective cut and pasting to make the unsupported contention that HAHS was the main selling point. Of course that doesn’t show up in the ballot blurb (probably what most people read if they read anything at all prior to voting) and is only one small part of a huge bulleted list of projects that need completing such as water fountains in elementary schools.

    Tell me again how putting money in HAHS which currently serves zero students would have been money going to the students but paying for teachers’ salaries somehow — in your mind — doesn’t benefit students at all.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 21, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  14. Forget it, Lauren, it’s Johnnytown.

    Comment by dave — May 21, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

  15. Unsupported…… Ask some of your present School Board Members and Teachers and AEA leaders who gave the kids and ROP Teacher a Standing Ovation and Huge applause for Catering these strategy Meetings.

    Comment by Why Read The Ballot — May 21, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  16. Lauren, back to your original point. The Measure C funds were used appropriately, they just were not sufficient to do the laundry list of items that needed doing.
    The problem is, the school board is asking for community input prior to assessment of what the future space needs of the district are.
    But, using some logic, we can deduce some things–
    Neither the Encinal site nor the Alameda High site are big enough to be one high school for 3000+ students. The only other site that might have a possibility of hosting one high school for the island might be Lincoln Middle? but I don’t know what the exact space requirements are. Assuming there is not now a site suitable for the one new high school that has been suggested, the district would have to acquire a site and then prepare it for construction. I really can’t think of where that would be besides the former NAS. Then you would have the $400 to $500 per square foot construction costs for the new building, without any “soft costs” included. Even at your higher figure of a previous post of $330 per square foot for complete renovation to Field Act standards and rehab of the systems, it is way more money to build new than rehab.

    So, if there is no good site for the one high school approach– we are stuck with the East End and West End high schools, for better or worse. 2011-12 AHS population 1860 EHS population 1089. AHS is using every Field Act compliant building to accomodate its student population. Because the east end and center of town are basically built out, there will be population fluctuations from year to year, but in general AHS will always need the space that it is using now, for students. EHS may grow slightly in population due to more housing units being added at the west end of town.

    Any private developer would have to be aware that the students are going to be using the center of the main building and the west building, and would have to keep the area fenced off to keep them away from the non-Field Act compliant buildings. Does this sound like any developer would be willing to purchase the buildings with those conditions? The City reps already stated that they don’t want a permanent fenced off solution.

    Considering that we know that the old buildings held 2000 students for classes in 1968, a better solution is to rehab the old buildings as Alameda High School and put the district offices into the 2201 Encinal Avenue buildings. The greenest building is the one you don’t tear down.

    The meeting should be interesting. This is a meeting to find “common ground” but with everyone lacking a lot of information, I don’t know how easy it is going to be to find that.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — May 21, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

  17. It looks like W.R.T.B. (known as “E.G.P.” under the recent “There’s Too Much Confusion post” and formerly appearing as “John, the retired champion of google then cut then paste then repeat under many past posts ) has conceded that the school district did with Measure C bond money what the 2004 Measure C ballot said it should do, as the ballot language, Lauren’s comments 9 and 13 above and several other comments under “There’s Too Much Confusion” help confirm.

    W.R.T.B. can and probably will continue to ignore the ballot language and keep trying to invent an alternative history of all this based on what someone who is apparently upset that he was laid off eight or nine years ago says he heard at some supposed strategy meeting with a bunch of teachers. But the facts are that the vote in 2004 was about schools all around Alameda, not just the old high school, and the school district followed up and did what the voters said to do in that vote in 2004

    What to do with the old high school now is now the question. That’s a tough one.

    Comment by 72 to 28 — May 22, 2013 @ 6:25 am

  18. Just got done looking through all the campaign materials from Measure C (2004), they only prove what we already know, John has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about (and tsk tsk to anyone who jumped on his “it was all about the high school” bandwagon, you should know better by now).

    There was not a single mailer that sold the tax as primarily about retrofitting the high school. The materials included laundry lists of projects in all of Alameda’s schools, plus building a new one (Ruby Bridges). They talked about maintenance for classrooms in all parts of the city, and highlight that the money would stay local. Look at the list in the smart voter link above, and you’ll see the list of things the money can be spent on that were listed in the materials.

    Comment by jkw — May 22, 2013 @ 7:29 am

  19. Here’s the text, from each mailer/doorhanger, as it relates to Measure C expenditures:

    Mailer 1:
    “More than half of our schools are over 40 years old. Measure C will repair and renovate aging classrooms, upgrade electrical systems needed to support classroom computers, update science labs and media centers and replace rundown plumbing and student restrooms.”

    Mailer 2:
    Lists of every school, how old it is and what kind of work needs to be done on it, an example (this was top center on the page, Historic Alameda High is buried in the middle):

    Miller Elementary School
    “Built in 1977. Structural upgrades will be made to the school building. Inefficient lighting in the media center and multi-purpose rooms will be replaced. Aging heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems will be replaced and outdated plumbing systems will be replaced where needed.”

    Mailer 3:
    “Measure C will provide funding for critically needed renovations, repairs and upgrades at every school in Alameda. Most of our schools are over 30 years old. Measure C will repair leaky roofs and ceilings, upgrade aging classroom electrical systems and modernize outdated computer and science labs. Modern fi re alarm systems and other safety measures will be installed and Measure C will bring each school up to current legal standards for handicapped access.”

    Mailer 4:
    “Thereby, allowing our schools to continue meeting growth, renovation and repair needs”

    “More than half of our schools are over 40 years old. Measure C will repair and renovate aging classrooms, upgrade electrical systems needed to support classroom computers, update science labs and media centers and replace rundown plumbing and student restrooms.”

    Comment by jkw — May 22, 2013 @ 7:51 am

  20. Does anybody know what photos accompanied the text in the mailers and on the door hangers? These might have given the impression that it was mostly about the historic buildings if they were the ones featured prominently in the photos. So it may be a case of voters getting the wrong message by skipping the print and focusing on the pictures.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — May 22, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  21. They were almost all text and none of them included photos, comics, embedded hypnotic suggestions, or any suggestion that the Measure was about Historic Alameda High. Try as one might to prove some connection between one’s new found belief that Measure C was all about saving HAHS and the campaign for Measure C, there’s no there there.

    Comment by jkw — May 22, 2013 @ 10:16 am

  22. On the back of Mailer 3, I should add:

    The projects identified as highest priority are those that affect health and safety of students. For example, the Historic Alameda High structure (currently used as the
    library) needs seismic repairs and upgrading to meet state
    standards to allow this structure to be used for classrooms.
    Other critical projects include the upgrade of heating/
    cooling systems as well as other areas such as technology,
    roofing and pavement and the construction of a new K-8

    Comment by jkw — May 22, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  23. At this point, what does it matter? We just need to just make sure this type thing doesn’t happen again.

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 22, 2013 @ 11:44 am

  24. Improving John’s reading comprehension would do a great deal to ensure this type thing doesn’t happen again.

    Comment by dave — May 22, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  25. JKW

    Little do I know about politics. I know there are many players in a campaign who have these splinter or dummy organizations that target segments who do mailers. Are you saying they didn’t in 2004 bond measure and these were only hangers and there were NO other mailers.

    Pass the Koolaid.

    Comment by Pass The Koolaid — May 22, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  26. Dave if bullshit was electricity you would be a Power Company.

    Comment by Pass The Koolaid — May 22, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  27. So John, your phony baloney story about the campaign having 5 out of 7 of their mailers highlight Save HAHS isn’t wrong, you were just talking about a “splinter” campaign that mailed out more mailers than the actual campaign did.

    And your “prove a negative” defense is brilliant!

    Comment by jkw — May 22, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

  28. They are all in the same Sleeping bag …….Not Brilliant at all……Common practice… Live in a house with different Age and Political slants and you might get a clue at what you receive…..

    Comment by New Ballot Measures Coming...Hang This — May 22, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  29. More comes in the Backdoor of Campaigns then most even have a clue……Some Printers think its just print money time when Elections come up.

    The real Issue that you probably missed is that The Teachers Groups Used the Kids money for their Catered Meetings. Denying them of their Class Money to be used on Food for actually learning how to cook…..But This is All about the Kids.

    Comment by New Ballot Measures Coming...Hang This — May 22, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

  30. Your anecdotal evidence is about as compelling as your cut and paste frenzies, provide some actual proof or at least the name of your “friend” so people other than you can actually independently verify.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 22, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

  31. Lauren

    See 15

    Comment by New Ballot Measures Coming...Hang This — May 22, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  32. Lauren How could someone make that Sh_t up……. Getting hammered here even questioning anything about the Schools should send up huge red flag. I was taught the only way you ever learn is to ask questions..Then question the answers.. But not here. Not about our Schools and especially about money or student performance. Whatever you do don’t stand up for the kids or their money,

    You want kids to Critically Think. Give me a break.

    Comment by You want kids to Critically Think. — May 22, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

  33. John posting here under a bunch of different names isn’t getting hammered for asking questions or being a critical thinker. He is getting hammered by the truth. Ignoring the facts and trying to make things up to fit into a preconceived view of what he believes must be true even when it isn’t true doesn’t count as standing up for kids. It’s just being stubborn and whiny about being wrong.

    Comment by 72 to 28 — May 22, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

  34. 72 to 28 ,,,,,,,Your Right …… Never let facts get in the way of truth…. You have never posted under different name…Let me go get some ice for my koolaid before you answer.

    Comment by Running for Ice — May 22, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

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