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El Tejon Unified School District’s new superintendent Katherine “Katie” Kleier (in yellow) with ETUSD Trustees (l-r) John Fleming, Ken Hurst, Cathy Wallace, (front row) Anita Anderson and Paula Regan at the July 14 ETUSD board meeting.
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Consultant Gareth Mills shows fault trenching analysis [next image].
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Map showing faults underlying Frazier Park, and their relation to Frazier Park School. Consultant Gareth Mills said his firm and state geologists agreed the soils at the school site have been stable for over 10,000 years.
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Greg Keenberg, Manager of Frazier Park Public Utility District and members of the water board attended, asking for better coordination regarding water needs at Frazier Park School, including fire flow requirements.
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Monique Miron gives her construction management report to ETUSD trustees about unexpected excavation at Frazier Park School.
By Patric Hedlund
Back in November of 2005 Mountain Community voters were fast-talked into a “hurry-up-so-we-can-get-it-done-right-now!” campaign to tax themselves with the first school bond passed in 23 years. Several things went very wrong shortly after. This newspaper has reported in depth about those adventures. In the intervening five years the El Tejon Unified School District had six or seven (it is easy to lose count along the way) interim, acting and two permanent superintendents.
Now, in summer 2010, building has at long last gotten underway to replace temporary classrooms at Frazier Park School
and El Tejon School.
At the same time, a bright new face is on board and at the helm of the district. Katherine “Katie” Kleier was quiet at the July 14 board of trustees meeting, her first as superintendent, but it was a fact-filled session. Consultants and contractors reported about the state of the building projects.
Gareth Mills of Leighton Consulting told the board that state geologists agreed with his findings that soils beneath the Frazier Park School are more than 10,000 years old, an indication that the site is stable. Extensive grading has been needed however, because an unexpectedly large volume of insufficiently compacted fill dirt was discovered beneath the area designated for the new kindergarten building. All of this soil must be removed, according to Monique Miron of CM Construction. “And then we grew rocks,” the consultants laughed, but their faces were grim. They said they must remove “everything larger than four inches,” and had amassed a pile of boulders the volume of the high school’s library, floor to ceiling, costing up to $30,000 to remove.
Miron said they had lost three weeks with these surprises, but had made up 1.5 of those weeks with overtime work.
The additional cost of this work may diminish the district’s ability to begin building the El Tejon classrooms at the same time as construction is underway at Frazier Park School. ETUSD’s board had hoped to capture cost-savings by proceeding at both schools before receiving California state matching funds, but may have to wait.
While that is still being determined, however, Miron said site preparation “infrastructure work” at El Tejon School is moving forward. Trustees John Fleming and Anita Anderson both asked about tree protection at the site. Miron said heritage oaks have already been pruned, mulched and fenced off for protection from construction equipment. The planned location of one building was shifted ten feet to protect a tree.
A 1912 Exxon Mobile pipeline beneath the El Tejon School grounds is being removed “from the bus parking lot to the mobiles.” Specialists from Exxon are doing that work with caution, and it will be completed before school resumes, consultants said.
Greg Keenberg, manager of the Frazier Park Public Utilities District (FPPUD) asked to be given updated blueprints and specifications for water needs at Frazier Park School. He attended with members of his board. Trustees were told that fire marshals were dissatisfied with recent tests to check emergency flow rates at Frazier Park School. Keenberg said FPPUD is installing new pipes and wants to work closely with ETUSD’s contractors. Miron said that emergency fire flow needs at El Tejon School will be accommodated by tying into Tejon Ranch water lines. Contractors assured trustees and Kleier that “‘Kids are Coming’ is our motto” and that the sites will be safe when students return August 18.
This is part of the July 23, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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