By Mary O’KEEFE
Two-story buildings may soon replace bungalows at 11 Glendale Unified School District schools with help from a state grant program and Measure S.
The grant will match close to half of what the district will pay for the removal of aging portable buildings, like bungalows, said Alan Reising, director of Facility and Support Operations at GUSD.
La Crescenta Elementary is one of the schools that will receive new classrooms – 16 new classrooms in a two-story building.
“The total cost will be $11.3 million,” Reising said. “The total the [state pays] is based upon the number of students that use the portables.”
The district has estimated the state will cover $5 million leaving $6.3 million for the district to cover through the Measure S bond.
Construction is several months, if not a year, away due to the grant approval and the state’s financial foundation.
“The grant application was due on July 31,” he said. “We [turned it in] by June 30.”
The grant will go through a state approval process that includes reviewing the district’s proposed plans and negotiating specific issues with the building. Once approved the district schools will be on a waiting list.
“Because the state is out of money, it will go on an unfunded approval list,” Reising said.
As money becomes available, the funding will begin.
“Our optimistic timeline is this December to be approved, then maybe another 10 months to be approved for funding,” he said.
Some residents who live near La Crescenta Elementary are concerned about the new buildings and what that construction will mean to their homes and neighborhoods.
The lack of communication between the district and the public regarding the recent construction of solar panels at several schools has made some of the neighbors wary of any new projects.
“We will be having discussions with neighbors [concerning the buildings],” Reising assured.
The solar panels had been discussed at several school board meetings before the construction however nothing was communicated to residents living nearby as to the extent or placement of the panels. When discussions did take place, it appeared to many community members as too little information shared too late in the process.
Reising said that will not be the case with the two-story buildings.
Although designs of the buildings will be done by the time community forums are held, the district will be able to make some changes and will take into consideration the concerns of residents and neighbors, Reising said.
For now the construction of new classrooms is more of a waiting game for the 11 schools that include Lincoln, Fremont, La Crescenta, Verdugo Woodlands, Mark Keppel, Balboa, Jefferson, John Muir and R. D. White elementary schools, in addition to Glendale and Hoover high schools. Keppel may be under construction early since they are already on the waiting list.