​​​​​​​Architect approved for Estancia High theater project

Estancia High School drama students perform a scene during rehearsals for To Whom It May Concern, an
Drama students at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa rehearse a scene from “To Whom It May Concern,” an original play that they will perform Thursday through Saturday.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve an agreement with Pfeiffer Partners for architectural design services for Estancia High School’s theater project.

The budgeted fees for Pfeiffer are nearly $1.5 million, according to the agreement. The project’s construction budget is $16.5 million.

A construction date hasn’t been determined. The district estimates at least eight months of pre-construction steps.

Whether existing buildings for performance are renovated or new facilities are put in is part of the design process.


“We won’t be ready to schedule completion until we have a clearer plan for the scope and design,” said district Chief Operating Officer Tim Holcomb.

Though Pfeiffer Partners has less experience doing designs for K-12 use than other bidders for the project, the firm was selected partly because of its extensive portfolio of performing arts spaces, said Ara Zareczny, district director of facilities development, planning and design. Those projects include Chapman University’s Musco Center for the Arts and Cal State Fullerton’s Joseph A.W. Clayes Performing Arts Center.

$1.4-million state grant will benefit arts programming

Newport-Mesa will benefit from a $1.4-million state grant for visual and performing arts programming for special- and alternative-education students, according to Deputy Supt. Russell Lee-Sung.

“We were awarded one of the largest grants in our state,” Lee-Sung said.


The grant will fund the OC ALLKIDS program, which stands for Orange County Arts Learning, Literacy and Knowledge by Instructional Delivery Systems.

The district will use the funds, which must be spent by September, to focus on professional development for teachers.

“The whole attempt of the particular program is to have a special-education teacher partner with a secondary instrumental teacher,” with the goal for students with moderate to severe disabilities to participate in an ensemble, Lee-Sung said.

HVAC installation set for 7 schools this summer

New heating, ventilation and cooling units are on track to be installed this summer at Back Bay High, Ensign Intermediate and Harbor View, Newport, Newport Heights, Mariners and Whittier elementary schools, Holcomb said.

Trustees in November 2017 approved a $974,200 contract for the project with Anaheim-based Optimum Energy Design for mechanical, engineering, structural and architectural services. The project will cover classrooms, administrative offices, libraries and other rooms such as teachers’ lounges.

The district plans to finish installing full air conditioning within a few years at schools that don’t have it.