The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

School Constructs School New Pool and More 

During summer vacation, the school hosted several construction projects to replace and renovate existing facilities, most of which were worn out from use. These structures included the football field turf, the swimming pool and the trainer building and bathrooms by the football field.

The $3.3 million undertaking was funded by the district school year budget, Measure A bonds, capital facilities fees (money collected from developer fees and allocated to public facilities) and deferred maintenance dollars (money saved specifically for maintenance). The school allocated the four sources of funding to different, specific areas of construction.

One area of top priority for the school was the replacement of the football field turf, which cost about $1 million and was completely funded by the district’s school year budget. Every 15 years or so, the turf becomes worn out and loses its bounce.

This fall sports season, athletes will be training on an entirely new turf field. A layer of foam beneath the turf and a new mixture of sand and pellets are designed for better impact upon collision.

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“Say you hit [the turf ] with your head, it’s a [cushioned] impact…and it’s a [cushioned] impact when you turn your ankle,” Head of maintenance and operation Mike Woodworth said. “The new turf acts like real grass. It’s easier on [athletes’] knees.”

Construction on the turf is slated to run through the first week of school.

The other major area of renovation was the pool and its surrounding facilities. Water polo players, swimmers and divers will be using a newly plastered pool, with the decking redone within a 10 foot radius.

On top of this remodeling, the school installed three new energy-efficient boilers that provide instant hot water to service the pool and the locker rooms. To help power these boilers, solar etc.,” Associate Superintendent Mike Matheisen said.

In addition to the money allocated for Common Core spending, plans for the 2014-2015 district budget include supporting programs to increase districtwide academic performance, salary adjustments for district employees and Common Core curriculum investment.

Money that came from increased property taxes as part of Measure A, which was passed in 2010, has been spent primarily at Los Altos High School this summer. The school upgraded the mechanical equipment in the pool and locker room area, in addition to investing in renewable energy sources.

A portion of the budget is also earmarked for Common Core spending. The money for Common Core was received by the district from the state during the 2013-2014 school year and is meant to be spent over two years. The district plans to spend the money for Common Core primarily on infrastructure, such as training, professional development and finding curriculum, to go along with Common Core testing.

“There’s this [program] called ‘Teachers on Special Assignment’ where there are coaches from the district [who] are there to help teachers in the classroom with developing and implementing Common Core type lessons, materials, the district will be spending money for this upcoming year, rather than in the future.

For example, one of the district’s main goals for the next three years is to improve the performance of all students in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. The LCAP includes this goal, the actions and services that will be provided this year and in future years to help achieve this goal and the anticipated expenditures for each action.

“[After the LCAP is approved in June] we send it to the county office and they have to approve it,” Matheisen said. “Now, for the first time, they also have to approve the LCAP. The county reviews it by mid-August…says it looks good, and then it’s certified.”

The district budget was approved by the MVLA school board in June.

In addition to the annual budget, this year the state has required schools to develop a Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to document how they will spend the dollars they receive from the state government. It also includes a three year projection of how the money will be spent in the future.

“The Governor and the state want to give more control to the school districts,” Matheisen said. “People said, ‘Hey, we’re nervous about how districts are going to spend their money,’ so they developed what is called ‘LCAP.’”

The budget is separate from the LCAP and is more related to how panels were placed on top of the boys locker room.

“It’s a completely new heating system which works off the solar panels,” Woodworth said. “The [old boilers] would just run 24 hours, seven days a week… [These boilers] won’t. When the pool is not in use, the boilers turn themselves down. It’s energy saving, and when the pool is [in use], the boilers ramp up by themselves and go faster.”

Construction costs for the pool renovation amounted to about $1.3 million, most of which was provided by Measure A bond money.

In addition, the school bought a new athletic training building to replace the old one by the track field. The portable bathrooms by the track field have also been replaced with a new, larger set.

The old bathrooms had one stall each for the boys and girls bathroom; now there are three stalls per bathroom. Capital facilities dollars covered the combined expense of about $860,000.

One smaller project that has yet to be started is the enlargement of the press box and replacement of the visitors’ bleachers by the football field. The current press box and its adjacent control room do not have enough space for controlling the scoreboard and for filming sports games. Woodworth believes that workers will start on this project sometime in November.

Overall, Woodworth was pleased by the progress of the construction.

“Everything was done just about right on the mark,” Woodworth said. “I’m very happy with the way things turned out.”

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