TEMPLETON — To offer a visual on the extent of work that was completed this summer, Templeton Unified School District’s Facilities Director Chris Bonin presented an aerial motion video of the construction projects going on at the high school and Vineyard Elementary at the board meeting last month. He sat back in his chair and let Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” provide the soundtrack for the beginning segment of the construction sequencing of the new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) building. The video went on to show the construction and installation of footings, utilities, rough electrical, rough plumbing, steel, and the entrance, and then continued to illustrate the VES and THS solar projects. The construction of the THS STEM building will wrap up as scheduled, in March of 2018, according to Bonin’s office. As far as the solar, Bonin said, “Let’s put it this way, we’re making progress.”
The solar panels, not quite in use yet, are now up and visible above the parking lots at both the high school and Vineyard Elementary. When they are completed, they will cover 80 percent of the district-wide electricity bill.
“There’s still a lot more to go,” said Bonin, after showing the STEM construction to the public, “but a lot took place. A lot of detail. A lot of stuff people don’t see, for example, all that rebar you saw, all that concrete underground – it’s all underground. Nobody will ever see it. To bring that dirt up to level, over 300 trucks of dirt were brought in. That rebar you saw, the retaining wall, 36 trucks of concrete for that,” he said. The $1.4 million STEM building is being funded by a Measure H12 bond. So far, he said, the building is within budget.
Bonin, who collects soil samples from infields all over San Luis Obispo County and tests their absorption as a hobby (as Templeton Board President, Nelson Yamagata, noted at the meeting), said there have been a few regulatory challenges over the summer.
Americans with Disability Act (ADA) upgrades at Vineyard and THS are now priorities. The facilities department will need to make the ADA stalls under the solar canopies compliant before finishing the solar portion. The path of travel was underestimated by the contractor, according to Bonin.
“Now we have to work around school so we don’t interfere with what’s going on,” he said. Like the rest of the district, Vineyard students went back to school on Aug. 22. The contractor told Bonin he would “make it happen” between now and Thanksgiving.
The high school is still working out its plan to appease ADA as well. Solar connection in the sidewalk was just under the dirt, and needed to be safe from cutting into high voltage lines. The compliance measure would have cost the district $14,000. But Bonin said TUSD will not be responsible for the cost, due to it being an error of judgement on the contractor’s part, though ADA regulations can be very nit-picky. Bonin said the contractor kept his word and is taking care of the cost.
Some Department of State Architecture (DSA) compliance issues came up for TUSD facilities as well this summer.
A 20-year-old issue of DSA, a matter of proving a retaining wall is still in tact, wasn’t properly closed out in the past. “The amount of work they are making us do to tell them that the retaining wall is still holding up… is ridiculous. It’s the biggest waste of money in my opinion,” Bonin said.
Among other notable, but unforeseen, summer projects was repairing the wall at Vineyard Elementary. Last June, when a student’s grandparent was choking on coffee, hit the accelerator instead of the brake pedal at pick-up time, landing his car through back of the MPR building, sending the Vineyard maintenance worker, John Fahey, to the hospital for minor injuries.
Bonin reported the hole in the wall has been “sealed up painted,” and the interior portion framing has been fixed.
The high school gym floor looks great, Bonin said. His team had finished sanding at the time of the meeting. Bonin said the one day job took four days to complete because the finish was so thick. The last time the floor saw sanding pads was 1990.
The Prop 39 energy efficiency upgrade has been completed. Every exterior light in the district was changed to LED lighting, including those at the high school gym.
About a half a million dollars went to HVAC units this summer. The facilities team replaced air conditioning units at all three schools. All are installed and working.
Because of finances, the board thought Bonin’s team would have to choose between the sound system or the batting cages at the high school, but Bonin said he moved things around and made both projects happen.
Athletics was updated with a new sound system for softball and the football field and an area was leveled out for a new batting cage. The new batting cage installation is next on the agenda. Bonin met with a contractor to replace infield mix for baseball and softball. He met with both coaches to get their opinion on soil samples. He said the new infield mix should be placed within the next couple months.
As far as the dust in the parking lot at the high school, it just wasn’t a priority to pave the parking lot. The council noted the drainage because of the slope to pave it was upwards of $1 million. The board joked that it may be dusty, but at least the solar panels will provide shade. Bonin said they might consider a ‘base’ for the parking lot in the future, but for now, his team is committed to the solar portion of the parking lot. They need to bolt down the solar panels and finish the electrical, and they will open up sections at a time as soon as the solar panels are secure, so Bonin said, “we’re not quite there yet.”
Bonin’s video ended with a “To be Continued…”
He said, “There’s something going on every day.”
You may contact Reporter Beth Giuffre [email protected] for questions and/or comments.