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Laguna Beach school district reviews projects in update on facilities master plan

The Laguna Beach Unified School District board of trustees received an update on the ten-year master facilities plan at their meeting on Thursday.
The Laguna Beach Unified School District board of trustees received an update on the district’s 10-year facilities master plan at its meeting Thursday night.
(Lilly Nguyen)

A presentation to the Laguna Beach Unified School District board reviewed completed projects, costs, future work and updated budgets for projects in the district’s 10-year facilities master plan.

The plan, initially approved in January 2015, accounts for the more than 310,000 square feet of building space the district owns and maintains.

It includes large repair and maintenance projects and proposed capital projects such as the addition of new classrooms. The scope and timing of each project is determined by a facility condition assessment done in 2014, along with community input and feedback from principals. The plan is updated annually, district staff said.

The staff presentation Thursday night was informational and the board took no action.

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Staff outlined projects completed at all four school sites last summer, including roof work, repair and replacement of rubberized play surfaces, replacement of heating, ventilation and cooling systems, stormwater drainage modifications and other campus modernization and maintenance projects.

Ongoing projects are the re-keying of locks at Laguna Beach High School and the district office and the replacement of HVAC internal controls at Top of the World Elementary School. The re-keying is expected to be completed by spring; the controls replacement is planned for the summer.

As for upcoming projects, the district is in the design phase for classroom and field modernization projects at Thurston Middle School. District staff said it anticipates board approval for the plan in May or June, after which it will immediately go out for construction bids.

The work is estimated to cost a total of $3.2 million across the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, according to a staff report. Construction for the classroom project is expected to begin this summer.

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The district also plans to install rooftop solar panels at El Morro Elementary School and emergency power generators at all four schools in 2026. The district office will have its own emergency power generator installed in 2025 as part of a modernization project planned for that period.

Current cost estimates place the solar panels at $320,000 and the five power generators at a total of $750,000.

“For the district office, we’d like to come back at a later date and have a study session ... where we could really ... talk about the functionality, the spaces, how we could increase security, meet the needs of the community,” said Ryan Zajda, district facilities director. “There’s many facets to what could be done with this district office.”

Trustees requested that staff include future synthetic turf fields at school sites and the proposed solar panels and power generators as part of the study session.

Included in the staff report was a five-year projection of district enrollment.

Current enrollment is 2,782 students, with a “slight decline” projected across the next five years, expected to stabilize at just over 2,500 students, Zajda said.

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