Architecture firms compete for H1 position


Thirty-five people from 28 architectural firms attended the architect tour for Measure H1 on Jan. 6.

An 85 page RFP (Request For Proposal) and RFQ (Request For Quotation) was sent to all of the bidding firms, and so far, all of the firms are still asking to be considered, director of facilities Pete Palmer said.

“[The list of expectations is] very detailed because we want to eliminate any sort of gray area, know this is very precisely what our expectation is of you, architectural firm, and here is the expectation of what we’re going to provide,” Palmer said.

When carrying out school construction, the plans are submitted to Division of State Architecture (DSA), not to the city, Palmer said. It is very high-level and specialized construction.

“We are looking for architectural firms with a lot of school experience and specifically with division of state architecture,” Palmer said.

Another large goal is for Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Palmer said. ZNE is when enough energy is produced on site using photovoltaic panels to power enough energy for the school so it will not need to pay PG&E and will be energy independent, Palmer said.

The district is currently spending over 400,000 dollars per year on electricity bills, Palmer said.

“If we can reduce that to zero, that’s an extra four teachers, five teachers every year,” Palmer said. “So that would be a great thing; it’s one of our main goals.”

A Solar Master Plan was also given to each of the architectural firms. These master plans include a schedule of deliverables, which is a schedule that tells the architects when they want plans by, Palmer said.

“Right now, our goal is to have a shovel in the ground and start building whatever we are doing and that’s to be determined by the students, the staff, the steering community and eventually the board of education,” Palmer said.

All their plans as of now are to be determined, and they are looking for more community engagement, particularly student input, Palmer said.

The steering committee will be responsible for interviewing and hiring the architectural firm, said steering committee and Board of Education member Doug Ireland.

The steering committee is a group of 20 members including administrators, the director of facilities, community members with a range of expertise in education, makers, science, construction, municipal bond expertise, and more.

“I really feel that for the next two years of my service on the board, this is the most significant issue that we are going to be dealing with because of the complexity of it,” Ireland said. “I really wanted to be part of it.”

On March 1, they will know which architectural firm will be chosen to execute Measure H1, and they will start working immediately, Palmer said.

“We’re really trying to build for the next 30 years,” Palmer said.