The Long Beach school district is moving ahead with the construction of a new administration building, after the existing building was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. But recognizing the tight financial times many residents are in, school officials said last month that they are working diligently to minimize — and hopefully entirely eliminate — the cost to taxpayers for the project.
The district will build a new administration building using modular units, which will bring the anticipated cost down from $4.9 million to $3 million. By taking the FEMA award upfront, rather than as a reimbursement, the district thinks it will be able to make the project fit within the award budget, leaving no cost to the district.
The administration building, at 235 Lido Blvd., has sat vacant since Hurricane Sandy, when the building was flooded and suffered extensive damage. For almost two full school years, the district’s administration operations have been spread across a few schools. In a presentation to the board on June 10, the district’s Chief Operating Officer, Michael DeVito, and architect Heather Fagans presented a way for the district to use Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to cover the entire cost of the construction of a new building, rather than the 90 percent that the agency typically pledges to fund.
The discussion of where to place the administration began in November, when it was included in the district’s Facilities Studies Group’s recommendations, and has continued over the course of the school year. Administrators said that they must be housed together to work more efficiently. But at budget meetings, some parents said that they didn’t want to see millions of dollars spent on administrators while students’ programs remained on the chopping block. Officials said that the district and its architecture firm, CSArch, have been working to find an option that will satisfy the needs of the administration, yet provide the least cost to the community.