CUSD site committee: Cunha is half the price, and twice as fast
A middle school can be built in half the time and at half the cost at the current location of Cunha Middle School, compared to using either alternative site. That’s the finding of the Cabrillo Unified School District’s Site Professional Advice Committee.
The committee considered three greenfield scenarios in addition to building at the current site of Cunha Middle School: building at Wavecrest in cooperation with Wavecrest Village LLC, building independently at Wavecrest, and the so-called Podesta site located between Half Moon Bay High School and Highway 1.
The committee consisted of a dozen construction, legal, architecture, and real estate professionals.
The board will vote on the alternatives at its regular monthly meeting next Thursday, October 13. According to Superintendent John Bayless, the committee didn’t make any recommendations because that decision was the responsibility of the CUSD board. It should be an easy decision.
Cunha could be completed before construction on the other sites could even begin.
The committee concluded that all three greenfield sites would take more than six years, until 2012, to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act before the project could even be put out to bid. CEQA processes for Cunha would take a little more than one year, and the project could be put out to bid at the beginning of 2007. Cunha could be completed in time for the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. The greenfield sites would be completed for the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.
The committee found four reasons why the greenfield sites would cost a lot more than Cunha. Acquisition of the new sites would cost $2.3 to $4.8 million. Environmental costs at the new sites would exceed those at Cunha by $0.3 to $1.0 million. Construction would cost an additional $8 to $9 million. And inflation would add $13 to $15 million to the construction cost over the cost of building a school at the Cunha site.
The logistics could be handled by building the new facilities first and then moving the students into the new buildings while the original Cunha building is renovated.
The committee also addressed the claim that Wavecrest is a better site because it provides students with more space for activities. According to Thang Do of AEDIS Architecture & Planning, the usable acreage at Wavecrest is 18 acres, versus a little over 17 acres at Cunha. Dr. Bayless and the attorneys on the committee also told the board that the language of Measure K, the middle school bond measure, didn’t require that the school be built on a new site.
The executive summary of the committee’s report can be downloaded from Coastsider. Superintendent Bayless promised that two copies of the full report would be made available at the Half Moon Bay Public Library. You can buy the report from the District office for about $30.