Measure C passes |

Measure C passes

Mary Thompson

South Lake Tahoe schools, which are all more than a quarter of a century old, will get improvements, upgrades and additions.

Bond Measure C, the source of funds for the projects, was passed in a special election Tuesday by 82.6 percent of the votes.

“We have an unofficial, final count of 3,105 votes in favor of the measure and 651 votes against it,” said El Dorado County Registrar of Voters Michelle MacIntyre. “We still have some provisional ballots that we need to count and hopefully we’ll have the official count by Friday.”

But the Lake Tahoe Unified School District isn’t waiting for the official count on Friday to get the ball rolling on the school projects.

They plan to open the bidding process to construction companies Thursday.

“Officially, bidding opens May 6,” said Steve Morales, the school district’s facilities director. “And we expect to make a recommendation for the construction award just a few days after the bid closes on June 8.”

Morales said that once the construction bids are awarded, the district will have to wait for approval from the state and construction should begin in late August or September.

The school bond will cost property owners within the Lake Tahoe Unified School District about an additional $12.50 per $100,000 of assessed property value in taxes per year.

South Tahoe Middle School and South Tahoe High School are the first facilities scheduled for projects that are funded by Measure C.

The middle school will get a $3 million science wing that will provide an additional six classrooms. The 10,000-square-foot structure will connect to the existing library wing.

Mike Greenfield, principal of South Tahoe Middle School, said the improvements are badly needed.

“We’re teaching science in a regular classroom – with one sink, one outlet, no gas and no tiled floors,” he said. “They’re not adequately supplied to teach science the way that we are expected to teach.”

He also said the new wing will come with a bank of computers used for student research.

“It’s a big step forward for us,” he said.

Greenfield also said that the additional space is a welcome feature for the school, which has more than 1,300 students.

South Tahoe High School will also get its share of expansion, though not quite as large.

A new continuation facility, about 2,500 square feet in size, will provide an additional classroom, toilet facilities and a computer lab. It is slated for construction in the football field parking lot. The new building will cost about $900,000.

The high school and middle school are first in line for improvements because they already have plans that were approved by the state.

Next summer, the school district plans on continuing the upgrades at the middle school and high school as well as a complete modernization of Bijou Community School. And the following summer, the hammer keeps swinging with projects at Meyers and Sierra House elementary schools. Because the approval from the state takes anywhere from 60 to 90 days, the school district is planning on bidding for next summer’s projects by February 2000.

“The projects are decided by the age and need of the facilities,” Morales said.

School administrators said they were thankful of the community support in Measure C.

“We’re very excited,” said Barbara Davis, assistant superintendent of schools. “It’s great to see the community coming together to improve our schools.”

And all this new construction could make local contractors thankful too.

“We encourage local contractors, especially subcontractors, to request bid forms,” Morales said.

A list of the general contractors who have requested plans will be kept by Morales so that local subcontracting firms can put in bids with those companies. He said that the general contractors are required to disclose the subcontractors they will use when they bid on the projects, so local subcontractors need to contact the general contractors within a week or two, before they draw up their bids.

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