Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Prepares for SMASH/Muir Campus Mold Remediation


Exact costs of repairs still unknown

By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro

It’s unclear exactly how much the total cost will be to deal with water damage and mold issues at the John Muir Elementary and Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) campus, but as of last week the school district has paid around $180,000. costs of tests and investigations of buildings and outdoor spaces.

On June 23, at a special school board meeting of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), the board approved a number of items to begin the “destructive investigation” of the campus and its buildings. , located at 2525 5th Street. The buildings have been heavily damaged by decades of water encroachment, dry rot, insect incursion and mold.

Of that $180,000, the highest cost is $42,496 for a contract with a firm that “would include the cost of architectural services as well as adding a construction cost estimator to the team” , as indicated on the meeting agenda.

The staff report states, “The addition of a cost estimator will help establish an appropriate budget and allow the district to compare the construction cost of the work as it evolves against the replacement value of each building. . Additional architectural services offered include the preparation of exhibits describing known locations of past water intrusion issues and illustrating the work proposed to be carried out during this phase of the invasive investigation.

Little Architects is the company that will be awarded this contract and funds will be allocated from Measure SMS funds. Measure SMS is a $485 million bond measure to improve school facilities that has a huge budget. The company has already been awarded two contracts in May for approximately $92,015 on this project which were part of the first stage of the campus investigation and involved in “evaluating what is found and determining next steps.” “. With this potential approval of a third contract, the total Little Architects contract payments would be $135,511.

The Muir/SMASH campus investigation began in May. The findings report was released by SMMUSD on the damage done to the 26-year-old campus for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

DTR Consulting Services, Inc.’s report details “poor construction practices, age and exposure, delayed maintenance, and faulty or improper installation of materials, including during repair or remediation work.” relatively recent,” calling the work the most likely culprit in the 131-page report that was commissioned by SMMUSD.

There are also three other contracts under consideration by the school board that would total up to $33,500 for movers who would remove items such as “furniture and content” and “audiovisual”, equipment and “technology” from certain rooms. class in buildings that have significantly higher mold levels. The rooms concerned are 400, 415 and 480 at SMASH (all classes); 101 (technical room) and 513 (concierge room) in Muir; and 210B (media room), 600 (kindergarten room), and 602 (teacher prep room) in Muir.

Additionally, the school board already approved $11,249 on May 19 for a contract with Alta Environmental that covers “environmental sampling, testing and reporting.”

Carey Upton, chief operating officer of SMMUSD, said, quoted by the Santa Monica Daily Press, “We don’t know how much it’s going to cost. It won’t be cheap,” it was asked in May.

The estimate is that the campus could be closed for one or two years while the investigation, remediation and potential rebuilding process is underway.

The school district has elected to relocate the entire campus student population before next fall: SMASH students will move to the current campus of Olympic High School, also known as the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration. Muir students will be sent to different alternate campuses, with most heading to Will Rogers Elementary School, while others could go to campuses including Franklin, Grant, Roosevelt, or McKinley Elementary Schools in the city of Santa Monica. Students might also have the option of traveling to Malibu to attend Webster or Malibu Elementary Schools.

At the June 23 meeting, Kat Blandino, a speaker during the public comment period, criticized SMMUSD’s plan to replace Muir students.

“The John Muir community has been treated completely unfairly,” Blandino said. “The difference between what the SMASH and John Muir families received in the questionnaire and the bait and switch that happened between the meeting and your surveys and the options available to these families is pretty horrifying. And it certainly is. horrible when you’ve known about the problem on this campus for years and suddenly there’s an emergency where you had to rush these things and then distribute and divide the John Muir community into other schools that are already overcrowded and whose class sizes are already too large.


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