The construction project currently occurring on the Samo campus to develop a new Science and Technology Building and reconfigure the current parking lot is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a link on the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) website. The project is being funded by Measure BB, a ballot measure passed to help improve and renovate SMMUSD schools.
Currently the foundation is being laid on the field, which will then be filled with concrete May 31, according to Dean of Students Catherine Baxter. Baxter said that the physical changes on campus such the moving of trees at the 7th and Michigan Gate will not begin until June and July.
According to an email from SMMUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business and Fiscal Services Jan Maez, additional projects will be created as funding is available.
Throughout the process of the construction there have been some problems. According to science teacher Kate Song, at the beginning of construction a pipe connected to her classroom was struck, causing her classroom sinks to fill with foul smelling water.
“I’ve definitely felt the pains of having to adjust, but it’s gotten better,” Song said. “They came to fix [the pipe] as soon as they knew it was because of the construction— it took about two days. There are definitely disadvantages but once that new building is up it’ll be equipped with [everything we need].”
SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyons said that despite problems caused by the construction, the district has tried to offer solutions to all of them.
“The biggest challenge for the project has been on-campus parking, drop-off, and pick-up,” Lyons said. “ The project required significant staging and layout space which eliminated more than half of the parking lot. The district worked with the city to secure parking spaces at the Civic Center and the DoubleTree Hotel. Additionally, the city provided a crossing guard throughout the duration of the project. The district also worked with the city to adjust the parking times and street sweeping hours to accommodate drop-off and pick-up at Samo.”
Baxter said that workers have been quick and responsive to the school’s needs when problems occur.
Anyone can follow the progress of the construction through a link on the SMMUSD website titled ‘Live Camera View’ through which you are redirected to a live web cam which shows the ongoing construction in the softball field. This camera is available to all SMMUSD schools undergoing construction through Measure BB.
“As a public agency, all major capital improvement projects have live camera view,” Lyons said. “ Live camera view allows the public and community to observe the ongoing construction process. The cameras allow district staff, oversight committees and all management levels to monitor the activity throughout the day. It’s also a fun educational experience for the community to watch and see the construction progress!”
“The construction of a new Science and Technology building will provide a new structure with classrooms equipped to educate 21st century students,” Maez said in the email. “It is our hope to provide the most up to date learning environments possible. Education is a critical component in any community. Providing the best quality education, including the improved facilities, equals a better community.”