Dublin Unified School District (DUSD) trustees advanced three significant building projects to provide more space for mushrooming enrollment in the schools.

Dublin’s school population grew by 4.5% in 2018, one of the biggest increases in California. The board’s three trustees approved the projects unanimously at their June 25 meeting.

The projects will be financed by a combination of local bond money and expected state school construction revenue.

One vote authorized a contract with Petaluma-based Midstate Construction Corp. to build a 3-story 47,000 square foot Engineering and Science Building on the Dublin High School campus.

The board previously approved the plans and financing for the project. The action at the June 25 meeting clears the final hurdle before groundbreaking, said a district spokesperson.

The cost will be $31.5 million. It will be covered by $30.5 million in Measure E bond money, and $1 million from Measure C.

Completion of the building will give students more options to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) academies.

Superintendent Dave Marken said, “Best of all, this is being done without the use of any Measure H funds. In the long run, once this building is complete, and the future high school is open, portables will be removed from Dublin High School. We’ll see optimal utilization of the campus for the first time in years.”

Construction will begin this summer, with completion scheduled for the 2020-21 school year.

FUTURE HIGH SCHOOL SITE CONCEPT APPROVED

Addressing the future high school, the board approved the site plan concept created by design firm SIM-PBK. Previously, the 23-acre Promenade, as it was called, had been proposed for residences and stores. It is located between Dublin Boulevard and Central Parkway, where Grafton and Finnian streets intersect.

Originally, Phase 1 of the high school project was planned for 1000 students, but the board boosted it to 1300. There will be a Phase 2, bringing total capacity at the new campus to 2500 students.

The total estimated cost for Phase 1 is $166.6 million. Financing announced for the first phase includes $135 million from Measure H. Some $28 million that the state owes the district as reimbursement for the district’s paying for the Amador Elementary School is one possible source, according to district spokesperson Chip Dehnert.

Phase 2 of the new high school will cost an additional $102 million. Funding for it will require an additional future bond, said Dehnert.

The board agreed to hire TBWB Strategies of San Francisco to advise the district in regard to the polling, bond information, and other aspects of passing a new bond measure. A TBWB representative told the board that the March 2020 Presidential Primary Election would be the earliest the district could place a bond on the ballot.

Commenting on the future work at Dublin High and plans for the new high school campus, Board President Amy Miller stated, “Although it has taken longer than expected, I’m so happy we are finally moving forward with the Engineering and Science Building our community so graciously funded.”

“To also reach a major milestone on the future high school project during the same meeting shows we are on the road to having two comprehensive high schools in Dublin that will be the envy of the Tri-Valley, while providing our students with the exceptional educational opportunities they deserve,” concluded Miller.

MURRAY WILL HAVE NEW CLASSROOMS

The board also approved classroom construction at Murray Elementary School. The contract went to American Modular Systems in Manteca. They build modular classrooms that look like permanent buildings.

The Murray campus, on Davona Drive in West Dublin, is 53 years old, and is expected to experience significant growth in the future.

Phase 1 at Murray will include two new wings, with 12 classrooms added by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Phase 2 will provide three more classroom wings.

The final phases of the project, not yet awarded, will involve the construction of new administrative offices, a library, multi-purpose room, and the demolition of older structures. The project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2022. Funding for the Murray project will come entirely from Measure H.

The board also approved a purchase agreement for property located directly adjacent to the DUSD offices at 7471 Larkdale Ave. The land, owned by Easter Seals Bay Area, was purchased below market value for $900,000. Acquisition of this property, approximately 30,000sf, will help the district address growth needs at its office.

MARKEN EARNS $330,000, BUT NO BENEFITS

The board unanimously voted to sign a two-year contract with Marken as its Superintendent, so there will be time to conduct a thorough search for a new superintendent.

Marken took on the role of Interim Superintendent shortly after the previous Superintendent, Leslie Boozer, resigned a few months ago. The board approved hiring Marken at its previous meeting, but had to resolve the salary issue, before making the appointment final.

Marken, formerly principal of Dublin High, also held other Dublin offices over 13 years, and served as a superintendent in the Newark Unified School District for five years. He came out of retirement to take the Dublin job.

Marken’s contract with Dublin calls for $330,000 salary, but no holiday pay, no car allowance, and no fringe benefits.

Marken said he intends to move to Dublin from his home in Lodi. He said that only Dublin’s need persuaded him to leave his retirement life.

Miller said that Marken’s commitment will help stabilize the district as the board faces a number of significant projects. “This is a major win for the people of Dublin,” she said.

FILING FOR BOARD OPENS JULY 15

The board has been working with two of its seats empty. Gabrielle Blackman was elected June 4 in a special election to replace Joe Giannini, who resigned late last year. She cannot officially join the board until the Alameda County Registrar of Voters certifies the election results, and the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) declares her the winner of a special election in Area 4.

Dan Cunningham resigned from the board effective March 1. His seat will be filled in an election only in the school district’s Area 3 on Nov. 5.

The Registrar of Voters has announced that the filing period for the Area 3 election will open July 15 and close Aug. 9. Filing papers will be available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.