In 2014, Alameda voters approved Measure I, a $179.5 million facilities bond designed to update and improve AUSD's facilities.
The bond was based on the 2014 Facilities Master Plan, a “living document” developed after detailed professional inspections were done on all AUSD facilities and more than 60 school site and community meetings were held. The plan identified about $590 million worth of renovations, modernizations, and repairs needed across AUSD facilities.
In 2015, the Board of Education approved a bond program schedule that focused on secondary schools to improve facilities for as many students as possible. Approximately $90M of the bond funds were set aside for Alameda High School (AHS) and Encinal Jr & Sr High School (EJSHS); the rest was allocated to other school sites.
While AHS and EJSHS were the largest projects, a strong focus of the work at other schools was updating outdated infrastructure (including HVAC systems, roofing, technology, electricity, classrooms, and offices) and improving safety and security. These projects were crucial to bringing schools up to 21st-century education standards. Every project approved by the board was completed on time and under budget; in many cases we were able to add elements to the projects that hadn't been included in the original plans.
We are deeply grateful to the Alameda community for helping us modernize and improve our facilities to better serve our students and staff.
A Focus on Safety and Security
In the course of developing the Facilities Master Plan, QKA, district staff, and the Alameda Police Department met multiple times to develop updated Safety and Security Standards for AUSD, including for fences, gates, points of entry, door locks, windows, alarm systems, lighting, communications, and disaster preparedness.
AUSD has been steadily implementing these standards over the last 5 years as it works on its facilities. Every school that was worked on during Measure I, for instance, received new clock, bell, and PA system upgrades, and state-of-the-art door locks; many also received new fencing, gates, and/or new entryways, and doorlocks. This work will continue with our new Measure B Bond.
HISTORIC ALAMEDA HIGH SCHOOL
Classrooms in the nearly 100-year old Historic Alameda High School had sat unused for more than 40 years due to several professional reports identifying significant seismic vulnerabilities in the buildings. The resulting restoration and modernization brought this iconic campus back to life not only as a learning center but as a community asset.
1920s Architecture, 21st-Century Classrooms
The 100,000 square-foot Historic Alameda High School, which was constructed in 1924, is a registered Historical Landmark. The buildings served as classrooms for more than 50 years. Much of the high school moved to a new campus in 1978, however, and in subsequent years the historic campus served as the District Office, the Alameda Adult School, and the Alameda Free Library. Unfortunately, District Office also had to move out in 2012 due to significant seismic safety issues, and the building stood empty for several years.
The goal of the project was to restore and preserve the 1920s architecture while creating 21st-century learning environments. The restoration and modernization project included:
• Historic interior and exterior restoration, including preserving main lobby to resemble the original reception area • 37 state-of-the-art classrooms, 11 new science labs, and technology to provide 21st century learning environments • Complete seismic retrofitting, installation of new fire sprinkler and alarm/PA systems, updating of structural, mechanical and electrical systems for functionality and efficiency – with minimal visual impact • Historic window restoration and reuse of elements such as window frames, trim and molding • New landscaping and seating areas along Central Avenue, as well as historic repair to exterior columns and reliefs, terrazzo entry stairs, bronze and copper detailing and numerous exterior decorative stamped metal panels • Outdoor learning spaces
To stabilize the sandy soil beneath HAHS, engineers injected grout in 6000 different spots on the site and then drilled corkscrew-shaped helical piles 30 feet into the ground to anchor the buildings to more stable ground. To shore up the buildings, workers placed enormous steel braces along the walls on all three floors. They also positioned “expansion joists” between the buildings so they could move during an earthquake without hitting each other.
Most of the facility’s 250 historic windows were repaired, and, as per an agreement with the Alameda Historical Society, the original wooden sills and sashes were preserved. In addition, columns, terrazzo stairs, and bronze and copper detailing outside the building were repaired, and the entire building was painted to match the original colors.
After removing all the interior walls and floors, construction workers built classrooms that meet current size requirements and also both preserve the original trim and cabinetry and provide up-to-date technology, acoustic panels, and furniture. The 11 new science classrooms include space for both teaching and laboratory work. Skylights on the third floor were also restored and the central lobby was completely restored.
New landscaping — including drought-tolerant plants, a line of trees to match others on Central Avenue, and a bio-swale to help absorb stormwater runoff — was installed in front of the building, along with an outdoor learning space and seating along the front of the building. The historic plaques in the front of the building that lie on top of time capsules from each graduating class were removed, refurbished, and put back in place.