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CGS: OK to Build Lexington School

Los Gatos Union School District trustees to move forward with plans to build the much-needed new elementary school.

The California Geological Survey has completed a third review of engineering reports and concluded that geology and seismology issues involving the Lexington Elementary School site have been adequately addressed, according to a letter issued by the agency to district officials.

The July 2 letter, addressed to LGUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Leslie Paulides, follows months of debate over what would happen to the old school campus, 19700 Old Santa Cruz Highway, were parents have been pleading for the past year for a new Lexington to be built.

following concerns raised by the CGS, mounting costs related to the project and then a controversial relocation plan for students that further upset the school community.

Superintendent Diana Abbati confirmed the validation by the CGS and thanked Assemblyman Rich Gordon and his team for helping facilitate the meeting with CGS to get clarity on the work needed to be completed by the district’s enginering consultants.  

The new Lexington School would be built with Measure E Bond funding. 

The LGUSD trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight, July 12, at district headquarters, 17010 Roberts Rd., to discuss the next steps in the process.

The trustees' discussion will include information about the scope and capacity of the work at the current Lexington site, a timeline including proposed interim housing, and also additional service contracts needed. Trustees are expected to provide direction in preparation for a vote at the Aug. 21 board meeting.

The Division of the State Architect, the chief regulator of construction standards for public schools, will need to review the project and then, if approved, a building permit will be issued and the district wil be able to enter into construction contracts, according to Paulides.

Assuming a building permit is issued by the DSA, options presented by Paulides include beginning construction of the new Lexington School in January 2013 or June 2013. Completion is then estimated by either May 2014 or August 2014, respectively.

Trustees will consider the issue of increasing enrollment while deciding how large to build the new Lexington School. According to district reports the LGUSD student population is projected to grow between 474 and 714 during the next 10 years, depending upon future approved residential development in town. 

A LGUSD demographic study by Davis Demographics and Planning Inc., dated July 6, the district grew from 2,587 students in the 2006-07 school year to 3,115 students in the 2011-12 school year.

That's an average increase of 105 students per school year with a minimal amount of new housing units being developed. The study suggests that the growth in enrollment was caused by an influx of families with school-age children. 

A Davis Demographics consultant will present the complete findings to the trustees during their Aug. 21 meeting. 

In June, trustees met to discuss options to accommodate the projected enrollment increases. In addition to the option of making Lexington School bigger, Paulides and trustees discussed building a new school on district-owned land, behind the current district offices and its associated costs. Paulides noted that Measure E funds would cover some, but not all of the expected additional expenditures.

Abbati said that she "encourages members of the public to participate in the process and read the recent CGS report on the district website along with the 10-year demographic study."

Mckenna Smith July 12, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Why didn't Los Gatos Unified trustees just wait for these results instead of putting us parents through heck this spring by prematurely saying they were shutting down LEX!!! Glad to hear this outcome and they better consider building another campus!
Jane Darwin July 12, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Public response and voice can make things happen. Even move mountains-well at least make the geology less of a threat.
Jesse Ducker July 13, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Hopefully this whole endeavor can start moving in the right direction.
Maaliea Wilbur July 13, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Glad to see everything has worked out!
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz July 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM
If we need this, then this should happen!
Dyan Chan July 16, 2012 at 05:03 AM
I am glad that it looks like the Lexington site is feasible for the rebuild, but it does make you wonder how these things work ... at the April meeting, the consultants said they were not confident that CGS would ever feel that the potential geologic issues were adequately addressed. And it was also a surprise when the district came back and suggested it might be possible to increase the new Lexington's capacity to more than 350 students -- prior to that, it seemed a given that the maximum number of students the site could accommodate was around 240. Looks like we just need to keep asking questions and pushing the envelope!

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