Moving and Shaking for San Francisco Schools

Contributor: Swinerton Project Team   |   January 13, 2014
Moving and Shaking for San Francisco Schools

Last summer saw the start of three diverse San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) projects, for which Swinerton Management & Consulting (SMC) is handling construction management. In addition, Swinerton's SFUSD team is providing design management services on three other projects, which will move into construction this year.

First up was Phase 1 of a two-phase seismic retrofit at Lowell High School, one of the highest performing schools in the nation in academics. With construction beginning the day after school let out, the project team had only 100 days to complete this challenging endeavor. The first day of the new school year, Lowell High School opened its doors to the incoming freshman class of 2017, and the entire 2,640-student contingent was able to start off the year in style.

Meanwhile, SMC has had its hands full over at Monroe Elementary School with the addition of a new $4.8 million, two-story modular classroom building. The next phase, the $6.7 million modernization of the existing classroom building, will be completed this year. This project has required eight teachers and more than 150 children to move to an alternate school site for the next year until the project comes to completion in 2015.

Construction on the new $44.6 million Willie Brown Middle School also mobilized last fall. The 88,000-square-foot school in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood is the first design-build project for the District. This school is designed to be a hub of the community with public access to the gymnasium, library, and multipurpose room. In addition, the school will include a wellness center that will provide dental services, healthcare, fitness help, and counseling to district students. The new school will be designed with sustainable principles in mind, including natural lighting, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater collection for irrigation of teaching gardens. The school is scheduled to open in fall 2015.

In various phases of design are modernizations for three other schools within the district: Sunnyside Elementary, Mira Loma Elementary, and the School of the Arts High School. With similar scopes of work, both Mira Loma and Sunnyside will receive seismic and accessibility upgrades as well as classroom, gymnasium, kitchen, and play yard renovations. Additionally, Sunnyside Elementary School will replace a number of obsolete portable buildings with a state-of-the-art, two-story building. This new building will also house a media center that will serve the entire school.

Swinerton Management & Consulting is also managing the $24 million modernization of Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, located on the old McAteer High School campus in Twin Peaks. The work will include new performance spaces; auditorium lighting and acoustical improvements; seismic, fire, and life safety upgrades; and accessibility upgrades on a steeply sloped site. Design management began last fall, with a construction start in January 2015.

With such a diverse workload, SMC’s SFUSD team is pulling together to make sure each of these exciting projects is a success. Teamwork and communication have been the key to the program’s accomplishments so far, both within the team and with the client. So hang on to your hats everyone, once the dust has settled we predict there’ll be a lot of happy kids and teachers in San Francisco!

-By Jeremy Templeman