Glendale Unified lays out upgrade plan

Glendale Unified has spent roughly $15 million of the $270-million school bond approved by voters in 2011 — most of it on solar and technology projects, as well as designs for future construction, the district reported.

More than 35 projects tied to Measure S funding have seen some headway, according to a report made to the Glendale Unified school board on Tuesday.

“Everything’s moving along very smoothly,” said Alan Reising, director of facility and support operations. “We’re working to determine what other projects we’re going to work on.”

Solar panels have been installed at Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools, Columbus, Mark Keppel, Monte Vista and Mountain Avenue elementary schools, and Rosemont middle school.

Officials expect the solar projects to save the district $18 million over the next 30 years, and energy projects may not stop there, Reising said.

The district may install solar panels near outdoor swimming pools to heat them.

“We’re even looking at if it makes sense to put wind turbines in,” Reising added.

Among the most pressing projects in the first slate of $54 million in allocations was a new design for College View School, which is in its final stages.

The school is slated to be demolished in time for construction to begin a year from now, Reising said. The campus was built in the early 1970s.

“What we know about working with severely disabled children has changed dramatically,” said Reising. “In the ’60s, it was more about segregation. Now it’s about integration. Literally, the building was not working for what they needed to do with it.”

The second major priority on the horizon is wireless Internet access at every school.

Officials have also committed to new designs of one- or two-story buildings at 11 campuses to alleviate bungalow crowding.

“We have several schools that have a high reliance on bungalows,” Reising said, pointing to Fremont, La Crescenta and Lincoln elementary schools.

In addition to the $270-million bond, the district had access to about $15 million in savings and other funds that gives officials just under $280 million to spend through 2021 beyond what’s already been spent.

The Glendale Unified school board will hold a special study session this October to determine how to spend the next batch of funding — $54 million — beginning in 2014-15.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @kellymcorrigan.

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