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News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

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TUHSD board approves STEAM plan

The TUHSD board approves the schematic design for the STEAM building replacement plan at Tamalpais High School, on Aug. 22.

The Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) board unanimously approved a design on Aug. 22 for a $90 million building plan at Tamalpais High School. The new plan is called the STEAM design, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. 

In 2021, the TUHSD completed a Facilities Master Plan (FMP), including input from students, staff, parents and other community members. Part of the reason for the FMP was to have the school sites and buildings assessed for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance.

“There is something known as the ‘50 percent rule,’ wherein if the cost to renovate a building to bring it up to current building and safety codes exceeds 50 percent of the cost of a complete building replacement, then you must replace the entire building with new construction,” Tam District Superintendent Tara Taupier said. 

Due to the 100-year-old age of much of Tam’s campus, several of the buildings, including the math, auto shop, and art buildings fall into the 50 percent rule, Taupier explained. Therefore, the plan is to replace four buildings that do not comply, including the current math and music building, with brand new ones.

“This STEAM building replacement project will only go forward if the Board of Trustees decides to seek a bond measure in March 2024 and is successfully passed by our voters with a 55 percent election approval rate,” Taupier said.

If the project moves forward, construction is planned to begin during the summer of 2024 and will take two years to complete. Along with the demolition of the buildings, “minor modernization” is planned for most of the other buildings on campus, according to the project’s schematic design plan. 

“The schematic design is a key benchmark in the overall design process that represents about 15 percent to 20 percent of the final design. There have been at least 15 committee meetings about the project and five presentations to the board so far,” Assistant District Superintendent for business operations Corbett Elsen told the Marin Independent Journal

While adhering to ADA regulations, the plan is to add modern comforts that didn’t exist in the original buildings, including air conditioning and larger class sizes to accommodate today’s standards. 

“Doing the preliminary design work now could help streamline construction, estimated to start next summer if the bond is approved. It could also save the district millions by reducing cost escalation, officials have said,” project manager Jason Cave of Greystone West Company said. 

While the construction costs for the plan are projected to be around $50 million, additional costs include contingencies, ADA improvements, and soft costs, adding up to a total cost of more than $88 million, with an approved budget of just over $90 million.

“Creating safe, clean, and green spaces for student learning is the goal. The plan provides an opportunity to replace buildings with modern classroom environments for the current and next generations of Tam High students,” Taupier said.

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