PIEDMONT -- With $3.6 million remaining in the school district's modernization fund, the school board recommended using some of the money for critical fixes at the schools.

The list of possible projects was divided into three tiers ranked in order of priority. The school board at its April 10 meeting earmarked four Tier I projects to be done first, likely this summer. Those are: checking and repairing the storm drains at Piedmont Middle School for $5,000 to $8,000; storm drain and asphalt work at Wildwood school for about $120,000; orchestra pit renovations at Alan Harvey Theater for $65,000 to $90,000; and replacement of all heating and air ducts at Alan Harvey for an estimated $280,000 to $350,000.

Assistant Superintendent Randy Booker also discussed a districtwide upgrade of technology infrastructure to enhance computing, Wi-Fi and communication at the schools. Included would be the Calypso communication system at the high and middle schools and Millennium High to improve campus security. All three elementary schools already have that sophisticated system in place.

"That's a very fancy $1 million intercom system (for the other three schools)," board president Rick Raushenbush said. "I'm not sure we've had a dire enough situation over the past 20 years (to warrant the system). You haven't sold me on it."


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Another $2.2 million of modernization funds was approved earlier by the school board, including $700,000 for Beach and Wildwood roofing, $500,000 for heating and air work at Piedmont Middle School, and $100,000 for architectural fees for Alan Harvey Theater improvements.

The school board will revisit other uses for the remaining funds at their May and June meetings. The architectural firm Quattrocchi Kwok presented a comprehensive plan for renovation of Alan Harvey Theater. Details of their report can be found on the district's website at www.piedmont.k12.ca.us.

The estimated $9.8 million cost includes safety, structural and accessibility upgrades, elevator and classroom additions and enhanced theater systems. The estimate does not include soft costs, design, testing and inspection fees. Raushenbush said there is no money now for a "big ticket" item. But Havens school designer Mark Becker thinks the number could be honed down using a public-private partnership.

"Alan Harvey is not a seismic problem," Superintendent Connie Hubbard said, asserting that the theater is safe but needs modernization. The school board also moved to establish the two furlough "buyback" days that were funded by parent and educational organizations. Nov. 1 is changed to a nonstudent professional development day for teachers. Jan. 7 will be an instructional day, and March 21 is restored to an instructional day.

The board also reviewed the charter for establishing the mandated school support tax advisory subcommittee. Voters approved the new school parcel tax at the March 5 election. The new tax that supplants the current parcel tax will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

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