4/25 Facilities Master Plan Board Meeting Recap

By Piper Goeking

The Tamalpais Union High School District held a board meeting to discuss a facilities draft master plan on April 25.  Jim Kisel of LPA Inc., a consultant hired by the Board, presented the draft which gave an overview of potential renovations to the district’s five campuses.  The draft was open to trustee, superintendent, and community feedback, but not for board action.  

Kisel began his presentation by identifying groups that had provided feedback for the draft master plan. Approximately 1,300 students, parents, teachers, librarians, and administration members had given feedback through online surveys, meetings, and site visits.  Based on this input, LPA established 16 “scope of work strategies,” areas of focus for the renovations. This included modernization and reconfiguration of classrooms, exterior play spaces, safety and security, and parking and drop off.  These scopes were further subdivided into the three categories of modified, reconfigured, and new construction, each indicating a certain level of renovation.

Tam was the first campus addressed in the draft.  A major issue throughout the meeting regarding the campus was parking.  The draft master plan included a two story parking structure where the tennis courts are currently located (in the draft, the tennis courts were located to the top of the structure).  The structure would increase parking by an estimated 50 percent.  Though the structure would increase parking by a sizable amount, Kisel admitted that it still would not meet state parking standards for high schools, which is six parking spots per classroom. The trustees also brought up that residents in neighborhoods surrounding Tam may not want the structure for aesthetic reasons; the structure would stand at 20 feet tall, slightly lower than Ruby Scott Gym, not including the height of the fences that would surround the tennis courts.

Renovations to the Drake, Redwood, San Andreas, Tamiscal, and the district offices were also addressed.

If 100 percent of the draft plan’s recommendations were implemented, the plan would cost a projected $301,879,546, not including utility hook-up fees/city connections, off-site work, land acquisition costs, hazardous material surveys, abatement, disposal, and escalation.  Tam’s renovations alone would cost an estimated $83,378,653.  Several of the Trustees expressed concern over the magnitude of the cost.  Trustee Michael Futterman recommended that LPA organize the draft plan’s content into “must haves” and “wants,” which would enable the trustees to better assess what components of the plan they would prioritize.  

Following Kisel’s presentation, two community members, both of whom live in the Almonte neighborhood surrounding Tam, presented their thoughts before the board.  Kersten Kennel, a member of Safe Routes to School Almonte,  spoke about the need for increased parking at Tam, citing the inconvenience the overflow of parking onto Almonte puts on cyclists and pedestrians in the area.  “One of the key reasons why elementary, middle school, and Tam high students can’t walk or bike to school safely is because of the parking constrain,” she said.  Loretta Figueroa also emphasized the need for a solution to Tam’s lack of parking as well as stating that she had not been able to find any public notice as to when the meetings LPA held for community feedback had taken place. She




asked that there be more notification for community members in regards to future meetings.    

The final copy of the master plan will be presented to the board as an action item on May 23.  The next board meeting will be on May 9.