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School renovations a go

Mary A. Castillo

The Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education this

week approved construction contracts that will jump start projects at

Thurston Middle and Top of the World Elementary schools.


“We’re scheduled to begin within the next week or two,” said Carl

Neuhausen, construction project administrator for the district.

Together with the four contractors, Neuhausen will conduct a

jobsite walk-through before they begin what promises to be 21 months


of work.

The contractors awarded parts of the work were USS Cal Builders,

Zeen Plumbing, LA Air and Dennison Electric.

The contracts, totaling $4,155,360 for Top of the World Elementary

School, came in at $436,916 less than the budgeted amount. The funds

will be transferred to the district’s Contingency Fund.

Although contracts totaling $8,153,975 for Thurston Middle School

exceeded the budgeted allocation by $12,297, the district will


proceed. The extra will come from the contingency fund.

The fall construction package at Thurston will include the

completion of the new gym, the conversion of the locker room building

into a new technology lab and a performing arts building, also known

as the black box, Neuhausen said.

Starting in June, construction crews will go to work improving the

athletic fields, the hard court play area and the driveway and

parking lot area. Existing buildings will receive updated electrical


systems, and handicapped access will be brought up to meet Americans

with Disability Act requirements, Neuhausen said.

At Top of the World, parents, teachers and students will see the

construction of a new eight-room instructional building, as well as

the expansion of the kindergarten building.

During the summer, improvements will be made to the athletic

fields, hard court play areas and the parking lot, Neuhausen said.

Crews will expand the lot into the hillside and shore it up with a

retaining wall, which will add approximately 10 to 20 new spaces.

“We’re doing the heavy work during the summer so it doesn’t impact

school traffic and students,” he said.

The work at Top of the World is scheduled to be completed in June

2004. The work at Thurston is scheduled for completion in August


As for construction at Laguna Beach High School, Neuhausen expects

that the board will review the recommended qualifying bidders at its

next meeting, on Nov. 26. Those projects, which include, classroom

upgrades, new classroom spaces for dance, drama and math and a new

girls’ locker and restroom facility, are scheduled to begin in