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November 2019

Greetings Families and Community Members,


This month's Signal article is devoted to updating the community regarding our facilities bond projects that have been funded by ballot Measures P and Q, passed in 2016. As many of you already know, Measures P and Q funded remodeling of John Swett High School and the rebuild of Carquinez Middle School. Together, these bond projects total $62 million dollars to improve our school facilities in the town of Crockett.
 
Measure Q - John Swett High School Modernization: The construction at John Swett High School is in full swing. Our construction firm (D.L. Falk) has completed most of the second floor of the classroom wing and are mid-way through completion of the third floor. All the classrooms are plumbed and wired for new air conditioning, new lighting, and new learning walls. The high school kitchen has been completely gutted and is mid-way through framing along with part of the cafeteria. All of the old asbestos ceilings in the school have been torn out and are being replaced with new drop-ceilings. We are replacing much of the fire alarm system, installing new electrical wiring, and adding new hydration stations throughout the campus. We are also in the process of remodeling the entire gym, bleachers, locker rooms, and shops. This will include a new elevator in the building and a new gym floor. It's a massive job! All of this has been going on while students are present. Our students and staff have been incredibly understanding and flexible during this time of upheaval.   
 
Measure P - New Middle School: By the time you are reading this article, we are hoping to have started construction on the new Carquinez Middle School. While we had hoped to have broken ground earlier this year, our project has been mired in the review process with the Division of State Architects (DSA). While DSA has approved our plans for Fire and Life Safety and Access Compliance, we have been working through structural calculations and flood control work. DSA is notoriously slow with regards to these reviews and is also inundated with school projects throughout Northern California. Getting out of DSA has been a frustrating process to say the least. Our latest communication with DSA indicate that we should be through the review process and able to break ground by early November. We have also submitted final plans for flood control work at the Carquinez site. We conducted an extensive hydrology study of the site that includes flood calculations for a 500-year flood event and the development of site improvements to deal with a rush of water coming down the watershed along both sides of Crockett Boulevard. In addition to repairs to our underground water culvert (which moves water from the watershed, through Crockett, and to the Carquinez Straight), we will be improving water inlets to the culvert, installing trash racks (with the cooperation of East Bay Regional Parks), and creating an earthen berm so all water can get into the culvert without flooding the new school or the high school. 
 
As part of our preparations to build a new Carquinez Middle School, we have also conducted a thorough environmental review. During the review, we discovered high levels of lead in the soil adjacent to the middle school Band building. This is likely due to years of lead paint washing off the building into the surrounding soil. We are going through the process for removing the contaminated soil with the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) which includes discussions with the public and surrounding community. Last year we selected Overaa Construction as our Lease-Lease Back partner to build the new school. As we have shared with the public, the initial estimates from Overaa were above our budget and we have worked hard to develop a more cost-effective budget that still provides us with a strong building image and a excellent educational project. Our project still faces significant cost pressures. We have had to take on culvert structural bridging, culvert repairs, flood control measures (mentioned above) and environmental remediation.The District is seeking additional project funding to complete all phases of the project and site work. This includes Seismic Mitigation funds from the Office of Public School Construction. Based on our calculations, the potential funding available would be adequate to complete the entire project.
 
In the coming months we will be hosting a Town-Hall meeting for the public to learn more about the projects, ask questions, and express their viewpoints about ways we can improve our schools and facilities. Once we have a definite date for the Town Hall meetings, we will be mailing out a postcard inviting the public to these meetings. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns. I am available by cell at 925-639-7408. 
 
Thank you!

Charles Miller, Ed. D.
Superintendent
John Swett Unified School District
Office: 510-245-4300 x2105
Cell: 925-639-7408