School board OKs construction progress

COSTA MESA — The school district is moving forward with two long-awaited construction projects at Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar high schools, with the expectation that state approval will finally come this month.

The Newport-Mesa Unified school board approved on Tuesday night the advertising of construction bids for new theaters and mini-campuses, called enclaves, for the seventh- and eighth-grade students on the two grade 7-12 campuses.

The agenda item also allows Deputy Supt. Paul Reed to award the contract to the lowest qualified bidder.

The district will begin advertising for the bids once it receives the green light from the Division of the State Architect. Plans were submitted in late July and approval was initially expected before the new year.

Approval is now anticipated to come this month, Reed said.

Once construction begins, it is expected to take up to 30 months to complete.

The plans for the 350-plus seat theaters calls for a box office, lobby area, concessions, a control room and custodial area.

There is also attached black box theater planned that will feature a drama office, dressing area, green room, scene shop, prop storage and tech office.

The projects are budgeted at about $16 million at CdM and $15.3 million at Mesa, according to the agenda documents.

The enclaves are being constructed to give seventh- and eighth-graders a separate space for their lockers and most of their classes. The plans calls for science labs, core-curriculum and special-education classrooms, restrooms and an administrative support area.

Costa Mesa High's dirt lot on Arlington Drive will be paved for a parking lot to be used as a drop-off area for the middle school and parking for extracurricular activities.

The two projects are slated at $15.7 million at CdM and $17.5 million for Mesa, according to the documents.

All the construction projects are funded by the $282-million Measure F, which voters approved in November 2005.

The district sold in May $95 million in bonds to fund the projects, which also includes plans to renovate Newport Harbor High School's Davidson Field.

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