Construction continues at Samohi. Photo courtesy of Dr. Antonio Shelton

The near-future view of Santa Monica and Malibu schools remains fuzzy at the moment due to mid-progress construction, but after several updates, that picture is beginning to come into focus.

At a Thursday, September 20 school board meeting, the public and school board staff were updated on construction progress as well as improvements that have been completed or are currently in progress within the district.

Roosevelt Brown, director of maintenance for the district, said that due to increased funding — provided by Measures GS, ES, and operational dollars — his staff has had more money and time to complete projects throughout the district, working with nearly $2.8 million dollars in total this year.

“It’s been a busy summer for us because this is the first time in years we’ve had money to do these projects,” Brown said.

Of the 1,108 work orders given to the maintenance department, 763 were corrective orders and 345 were safety-related. Brown said these orders consisted of actions as simple as removing trip hazards to strapping items down in the event of earthquakes.

These improvements throughout the district included installing bottle filling stations, replacing and restoring roofs, making paths in schools more handicap accessible, A/V upgrades and more.

As for construction throughout the district, Samohi and Malibu’s flagship schools are still a work in progress with some time to go before completion.

Samohi’s science and tech buildings have been torn down with progress “going great”, according to Bonds Program Manager Steve Massetti. Grading and more contracts remain on that project. Wayfinding signage has been erected while construction continues to help guide people around the school.

Malibu High School was discovered to have low levels of PCBs in some of its soil about a week before school started. Massetti and staff removed and replaced that soil before school started.

“We found PCBs at low levels in the soil beneath the former library and admin building,” Massetti said. “They were below actionable levels, below DTSC (Department of Toxic Substance Control) and EPA levels. We weren’t required to test [for PCBs] but we did a test. We met with the FDAC and the superintendent, they said to remove that [PCB] soil with clean soil, and we did that.”

Massetti’s staff finished Malibu High’s Main Distribution Frame (MDF) building and began installing their middle school buildings, informing staff that the first round of buildings is set in place.

Staff reception to the upgrades was positive, with board member Laurie Lieberman effusive in her praise.

“Thank you for doing this and doing this quickly,” she said. “There’s a lot in there. Since I’ve been on the board, I’ve never seen this much work completed. This is the function of staff and money from the community. Kudos to all of you and to our community for enabling us to do all this.”

angel @smdp.com

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