Building under way for Aromas School classrooms

A view of the shell of the building that will become the new permanent classrooms at Aromas School.

Contractors have finished a plywood shell for eight permanent classrooms, which will take the place of nine portables previously at Aromas School.
“The shells are built, and we anticipate the buildings to be delivered sometime in March for finishing,” said Superintendent Ruben Zepeda said.
The roughly $2.8 million project to add the rooms to the campus on 365 Vega St. before the start of next school year became complicated this October, when trustees learned there would likely be between $150,000 and $160,000 in overage fees.
Last month, the board approved $170,000 in overage costs and a small contingency fund, which came from Measure Z—the district’s $9.7 million general obligation facilities bond—and the general fund.
Aromas-San Juan Unified School District trustees heard an update on the construction project at the regularly scheduled board meeting this week. Increment one of the project, which consisted of preparing for the new foundation and installing it, is close to being completed, according to information from the meeting agenda and Zepeda. The contractor has broken ground on increment two, which consists of building a shell of the classrooms off site and doing finishing work once the structures are on campus.
The current classroom framework contains walls, a floor and a roof, but lacks finishing touches that include wiring, outlets, carpets, a painted exterior and classroom whiteboards, Zepeda said. This finishing process can take a “number of months” to complete, he said.
Concrete testing
At the meeting last week, the board approved a contract with Earth Systems Pacific for testing and inspection services for the project.
“It’s really testing the strength of the concrete,” Zepeda said. “You can mix concrete in a whole bunch of ways and it has different load capacities.”
The cost of the testing is not to exceed $14,635 and will be funded through Measure Z, according to background information from the meeting agenda. These costs had been included in the project costs, but the board still needed to approve the contract.
Lease-Leaseback agreement
In mid-January the board voted to enter into a $500,000 lease-leaseback agreement funded by Measure Zwith Dilbeck & Sonsfor increment one of the project—thepreparing of the new foundation and installing of it—at Aromas School. Trustees voted 2 -2 on theagreement last week. Trustees Angelica Medina and Jeff Hancock cast dissenting votes and said the contract was incomplete, according to Janet Castro, the executive assistant at the district office who took minutes at the meeting.
State education code authorizes a district to engage in lease-leaseback agreements allowing them to lease property—without advertising for the highest bidder—for as low as $1 a year as long as the party constructs a building or structures before the end of the lease.
The agreement also includes a guaranteed maximum price of $500,000 for work, which means the contractor will assume the risk of all costs in excess of this amount and will not be able to get additional payments from the district because of extra costs.
Increment two of the project—the building of the shell of the classrooms off-site and the finishing work on campus—was approved by the Division of the State Architect and is ready to enter into a lease-leaseback agreement with Dilbeck & Sons. Trustees approved an agreement with a guaranteed maximum price of $2,097,522 for this portion of the project. It will be funded by Measure Z and the general fund.

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