Expanded administration building project postponed

The timeline for the construction of the Carmel High administration building is unclear at this time, but what is known is that construction will not break ground this upcoming summer as previously reported

CHS Principal Rick Lopez and the CUSD board now express optimism that the project will be under way by the summer of 2017 at the earliest.

Board President Mark Stilwell informs that a state judicial decision came down preventing the school, like many others in California, from using a particular system for construction. The school then decided to delay the project to assess the situation.

“Many school districts used a form of construction contracting called lease-leaseback, pursuant to which the district would negotiate a construction contract with one construction company, lease the property to the contractor during construction, and then end the lease and take the property back at the completion of construction,” Stilwell explains. “[The school] used lease-leaseback for the new science wing and other recent projects, for example. The court ruling stated that a lease-leaseback used by another district…wasn’t technically allowed under California law.”

While delays have plagued this construction project, it seems that the district will be expanding the administrative building project as well. There is debate among district employees about the possibility of a two-story building to better utilize diminishing campus land.

Lopez notes that an efficient way to use space on campus is to build up, and thus the district is exploring the possibility.

“I think that the delay turned out to be beneficial by giving us additional time to consider the possibility of adding a second story,” Stilwell explains.

In addition, the school may build a Health and Wellness Center dedicated to the physical, emotional and physiological well-being of students as well as an expanded faculty and workroom to serve as a place for teachers to collaborate and interact.

The construction has now been delayed three consecutive years. Lopez summarizes the reasons: the bankruptcy of the contracted architect firm the first year, the lease-leaseback decision last year and the expansion of the project this year. While some may be frustrated at the recurring delays of the project, board member Karl Pallastrini notes that “it will cost more, but this is the kind of thing you want to do only once, and do it right.”

If all goes well, board members note, it will have taken a little longer for the plan to go through, but the result will be facilities that students and faculty can both appreciate a little more.

-Evan Patel