October 2018 Measure X Update - New Elementary School in Foster City
Measure X Update: New Elementary School in Foster City
I am writing to provide information on the progress being made on the new elementary school in Foster City. For those who are unfamiliar with the project, establishing a fourth elementary school in Foster City was part of a commitment made to the voters when they passed the Measure X school facilities bond to provide the additional facilities needed in the San Mateo-Foster City School District for increased and increasing enrollments. The new school in Foster City is one of eight projects funded by Measure X and other funds for facilities - four of which comprise Phase I of Measure X. The preliminary planning stages for the four Phase II projects will begin later this school year.
Budgets have continued to challenge each of the Measure X Phase I projects. Costs have increased during the last three years due to a rapidly changing construction environment and a strong local economy. There continues to be an ever-increasing number of construction projects in the Bay Area as well as additional ones being planned due to the devastating effects of major fires throughout California and hurricanes and floods throughout the United States in the last eighteen months. All of these have resulted in increased demand for labor and materials which have been accompanied by increased wages and materials costs (some due to shortages, others due to tariff increases). With this constantly changing cost environment, the architects for all four Phase I projects and the District’s Board of Trustees and staff have devoted significant amounts of time at various stages in the design process for each project to understand increases in cost estimates done by cost estimators and to make changes in the projects to reduce costs while maintaining the design and operational principles that have guided the new school in Foster City and the other Measure X Phase I projects.
The Board of Trustees has been working hard to achieve the goal of a new school in Foster City despite this very challenging cost environment. To continue to move forward, the site for the new school was fenced in the spring so that the asbestos in the building materials of the previous shopping center could be removed and additional pre-construction testing could be done. The Board of Trustees has twice made adjustments to the original budget for the school by designating other limited facilities funding. The most recent budget adjustments were made on June 30, 2018. A Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Foster City-- the subject of several months of discussion between the City and District staff and elected representatives as well as attorneys-- was agreed to by the City and School District in June also.
Since then, the District held a Community Meeting on July 24, 2018 to review the construction timeline, changes in design necessitated by the increased budget, the hours of construction and other related items, and introduction of the key contact people during the demolition/grading and construction phases. Unfortunately, the planned cut off and removal of utilities originally scheduled for August was changed by PG&E to the end of September because of the staffing it needed to re-deploy to the fires in northern California in August. Currently, the District is awaiting the developer’s final project costs for the new school to approve the beginning of demolition, grading and construction.
Below is a full timeline of Major Milestones for the New School in Foster City project completed to date and the milestones ahead. I invite you to look at the District’s website for renderings of the new school and other information.
Joan Rosas, Ed.D.