All but a few of the 200 people gathered at for the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night erupted in applause after its members ostensibly voted to keep the alive.
The 5-0 vote authorized the district to allow engineering consultants to respond to guidance and findings presented by the California Geological Survey during a meeting between the agency, consultants and LGUSD representatives on May 11.
The board also unanimously approved the suspension of to proceed with interim housing for Lexington students at pending the response from CGS regarding new model testing.
Before trustees voted, representatives from various consulting firms and architectual offices joined assistant superintendent of businesses services Leslie Paulides in recapping the May 11 CGS meeting.
According to Mike Kleames, principal geotechnical engineer for Pacific Crest Engineering, CGS continues to take issue with the site’s geological setting, shear strength and ground motion.
The primary problem CGS has with the site analysis, he explained, is that it wants three additional 8.0-magnitude earthquakes included in ground stability models for the project, even though the current site review already includes three 8.0-magnitude earthquakes as well as four 7.3-magnitude temblors.
CGS also wants the models with these quakes to be run with lower-strength building materials, he added.
Trustee Doug Halbert took issue with statements made by Kleams and Alan Kropp, a peer reviewer from Alan Kropp and Associates, that the consultants knew all along that CGS wanted modeling with 8.0-magnitude quakes yet consultants “complicated” the analysis by including ones registering magnitudes of 7.3.
“CGS said all along that they wanted simple math,” he said. “Why did you go and make it more complicated than what they originally requested? Now we have to redo the modeling, and this is already after two rounds with them. This analysis [by consultants] should be done for free.”
Paulides laid out the implications of the meeting with CGS, notably that a preliminary estimate of time and cost to put together a response to CGS’s analysis would take between two and four weeks and cost between $25,000 and $40,000.
CGS, she continued, assured that it would have a response prepared within two weeks of receiving the new models.
Paulides also said that if CGS were to approve the site now, it would cost $23.2 million to build the school as is. The campus would have a capacity of between 240 and 308 students. It currently houses 170 K-5 students.
Paulides said that if the three extra classrooms were added, it would increase the school's capacity to between 308 and 385 students and it would cost $25 million.
Project manager Rick Kramer of Kramer Project Development also presented two school site alternatives to the board. The first would be to relocate the school to the district office on Roberts Road and accompanying maintenance field. This project would repurpose four acres of land, cost an estimated $29.8 million and have a student capacity of 240-380.
The second alternative is to build the school at a completely new site, one that, Kramer said, would be difficult to build in Los Gatos. That project would cost an estimated $43.3 million, take four to five years to complete and have an enrollment of between 240 and 308 students.
Lexington project supporters overwhelming expressed desire for the board to pursue building the school on the site and repeatedly thanked trustees for asking tough questions to the engineering consultants.
"This is the first time I've felt a really comprehensive explanation of all the factors has been provided," one Lexington parent said. "It's the first time in a long time that I am optimistic."
Halbert, who presented the motion to allow consultants to address CGS's findings, also asked that the district investigate additional revenue streams for funding the project.