July 2005


TUSD Moves Forward on Measure G Summer Construction Projects

Last year, the Tustin Unified School District Board of Education authorized nearly $40 million in construction work and other related costs for the Measure G modernization program. The funds were dedicated to projects approved by the State, which included $28 million from the State’s School Facility Program (SFP) matching funds, and the District’s eligible list of projects for Measure G bond funds. The construction for State and Measure G funded projects at 12 TUSD school sites (Phase 1) began in June 2004 and approximately 70 percent of construction was completed last summer. The balance of the work continued at a reduced pace to minimize classroom disruption during the school year, and will accelerate this month with a completion date set for the end of summer.

Of the 12 schools included in Phase 1, Loma Vista Elementary School is 100 percent completed with the modernization scope of work. The other 11 schools will have work completed this summer. They include Arroyo, Benjamin Beswick, Helen Estock, Guin Foss, C.C. Lambert, W.R. Nelson, Jeane Thorman and Marjorie Veeh elementary schools; Hewes Middle School; and Foothill and Tustin high schools.

The work that remains for summer of 2005 is described as follows:

Arroyo Elementary School - Installation of nine doors and related hardware for the Administration building, two outdoor wheelchair lifts in the library and multi-purpose room, seven exterior access ramps throughout the campus, and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant door landing at the Administration office.

Beswick Elementary School - Installation of an ADA-compliant door landing at the nurse’s office.

Estock Elementary School - Installation of a nurse’s office restroom and seven doors with related hardware for the Administration building, sinks and countertops in the staff lunchroom and nurse’s office, and two exterior ADA-compliant door landings for the students’ restrooms in building E and nurse’s office in building A.

Guin Foss Elementary School - Installation of an ADA-compliant door landing for the students’ restroom in building E.

Lambert Elementary School - Installation of 11 ADA-compliant door landings for buildings A, C, D and E.

Nelson Elementary School - Installation of seven doors and related hardware for the Administration building, and 24 ADA-compliant door landings for buildings A, B, C and D.

Thorman Elementary School - Installation of two students’ restrooms and two staff’s restrooms, and 22 exterior ADA-compliant door landings for buildings 1, 2, 3 and 8.
Veeh Elementary School - Installation of a restroom in the nurse’s office, five doors and related hardware for the Administration building, sinks and countertops in the staff lunchroom and nurse’s office, and three ADA-compliant door landings for buildings A and G.

Hewes Middle School - Installation of five doors; ADA-compliant modernization of restrooms in the multipurpose room, room 822 and girls’ restroom in building C; a new ADA-compliant door in the boys’ locker room and a wheelchair lift in the multi-purpose room.

Foothill High School - Installation of 37 doors and related hardware, four pieces of casework/countertops, three drinking fountains, five restrooms and two new showers.
Tustin High School - Installation of 63 doors, 10 pieces of casework/countertops, seven curb ramps, 11 restrooms, two wheelchair lifts and ADA-compliant door landings throughout the site.

Construction Cost Trends for 2005-06

During January through September of 2004, the construction industry in California and across the United States experienced an unprecedented rise in costs for construction materials and labor. This hike was due to a combination of local and international factors. There has been an unusually high demand for construction labor in California due in part to the large number of housing starts throughout the State, as well as an increase in demand from China for certain key materials such as steel, cement and wiring. The State’s requirements for school districts to bid and award all state SFP funded projects by June 2004 has also contributed to the inflated cost. TUSD experienced an overall rise of nearly 25 percent in cost relative to the construction cost estimates produced in 2003 during the program’s budgeting process. Other districts experienced hikes over 30 percent from their estimates and projects.

The current cost trends, as reported by Engineering News Record, indicate that the construction industry has shifted to a higher cost plateau from 2003 to 2004 prices, with construction escalation beginning to stabilize at an annual rate of five to seven percent in 2005.

The California Construction Industry Market Escalation Report states a reasonable construction market growth of six percent for 2005. On materials cost, the construction industry does not see a reduction in prices, but more of a stabilization at current higher prices, with delivery schedules improving but remaining at a high risk for bidders. On labor, they report a steady labor cost increase at an annual rate of three to four percent. The report indicates that risk remains high for contractors due to shifting material costs, construction start delays and extended supervision on sites due to reduced inspection services. All of these high risk factors translate into higher premiums for their services, which increase the costs and overhead.

Phase 2 Project Status and Scope of Work

In January, the TUSD Board of Education selected two architectural design firms and directed District staff to proceed with Measure G’s scope of work definition and preparation of design documents for Phase 2 at five remaining school sites: Barbara Benson and Tustin Memorial elementary schools, and Columbus Tustin, A.G. Currie and C.E Utt middle schools.

The scope of work for Phase 2 will be very similar to Phase 1. The general scope is identified in the TUSD Facilities Plan and will include elements from the “Approved” items list and selected “Eligible” items, which are reasonable to complete based on economy of scale, prevention of re-work or equity considerations. Equity of improvements among all school sites is of high importance to the Board, and will be a top priority in the planning, design and construction of Phase 2 projects.

During the planning, design and construction process, consideration will be given to limit significant disruption of classroom and instructional spaces at each Measure G campus. One of the greatest challenges of a major multiple-site construction program is the planning and timing of the work. Construction work should be planned and scheduled in advance to minimize the possibility of having to redo work completed in earlier phases of the program. For instance, it would not be acceptable to have a plan wherein a new parking lot was installed and six months later had to be partially demolished and repaired to incorporate a fire hydrant installation. Thus, the overall program must be reviewed and carefully scheduled to ensure economy of scale and efficiencies to minimize waste and rework.

As the project approaches 50 percent design completion in August, the District will obtain construction cost estimates to maintain an accurate record of work and estimated cost. The same estimating procedure will be repeated in March 2006 at 95 percent design completion prior to the bidding phase of the project. This estimate will best reflect the expected cost of construction for the work to be completed during the summer of 2006.

For more information, please visit the Measure G Website at


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