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Arts and Communication Magnet Academy

The Arts & Communication Magnet Academy (ACMA) will undergo replacement of the main building and the addition of new facilities, including new classrooms, cafeteria, kitchen and associated site improvements. Visitor parking will be expanded and re-arranged for safety and efficiency. Portables will be removed and capacity increased to 725.

The existing performing arts building will be retained and incorporated into the replacement building's new 75,000 s.f., two-story design.  During reconstruction, ACMA students and staff will relocate to the "swing" school at the new middle school on 118th during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years. ACMA will open September 2021.

Project Cost: $39,432,600.00
Funding: 2014 Bond
Project Schedule: 07/2019 - 08/2021
Project Status: In Progress


 

ACMA New Construction FAQ

In order to address concerns that have been raised by some staff, parents, and students, we are providing this FAQ to provide clarity regarding the process and scope for construction of the new ACMA building and campus.

First, Principal Bjorn Paige has prepared an excellent presentation that compares the existing building to what will be delivered in this project. He also addresses several of the issues discussed below. This presentation was shared with ACMA parents during a March 5, 2019 information night. It is available here: ACMA New Construction Overview

Why are there no student lockers in the design?

ACMA does not currently have lockers. The original concept included a limited quantity of lockers (not one for every student). In concert with the Building Administration team, we decided to remove the lockers based on:

  1. The design includes a large amount of student storage related to the unique nature of being an Arts and Communication school. The dance changing rooms and studios include storage space for our students’ dance equipment. The music room has instrument storage. The art studios include areas for our students to store art projects and the science rooms have storage for science projects. Student lockers, not surprisingly, will not accommodate these large equipment pieces. The new general education classrooms are also quite large and, with proper classroom management, should allow the staff to eliminate the trip hazards caused by backpacks in the current classrooms.
  2. We are considering the necessity for student lockers in all of our future schools. Surveys of our Middle and High Schools that currently have lockers find that they are being used infrequently by our students. This is not universal to all schools and students. While not a large expense in terms of a new construction project, they do take up considerable square footage and are expensive to maintain.
  3. Besides repurposing the square footage lockers would consume, the nature of ACMA as an art school drove us to believe that open hallways with our students’ art on display, and improved circulation, would create a better environment than rows of lockers.

We have heard the concern and have agreed with the Building Administration to add 100 half-size lockers in the commons area. This will accommodate 200 students and we believe is sufficient for our students who desire a locker. We can add additional lockers, and are open to further discussion, but these additional lockers would be in the hallways and would limit the display of artwork. Further, the Building Administration is not in favor of the desire expressed by some staff members to mandate the use of lockers and ban backpacks from being in the classrooms.

The school has also committed to work to lighten the load which our students carry to and from school each day.

Why has the budget for the project changed?

Forecasting construction costs and market conditions in 2012 to cover an 8-year (2014-2022) program is difficult. These budget estimates are built at the concept level as the funds for the full design cannot occur until the bond is approved. Further, building code changes and conditions that local jurisdictions place on us cannot be fully anticipated and can eclipse the industry standard contingencies and escalation factors included in the estimates. Likewise, innovations in education and classroom methodology that the District adopts can affect building design and the cost of construction.

Recognizing the factors above, in the fluid market conditions, a Cost Management and Control Plan was put in place by the School Board in 2016. At the same time, the original project estimates were updated to better reflect the cost to deliver the bond goals. Specific to ACMA, the project budget grew from $28,300,000 to $39,048,849.

What is the project scope and has it changed?

While the actual 2014 Bond Measure language simply called for the replacement of ACMA, the project scope shared with the community at the time read as follows:

Replacement of main building and adding new facilities, including new classrooms, gymnasium, cafeteria and kitchen. Bus parking and visitor parking would be expanded and re-arranged for safety and efficiency. Portables would be removed and capacity increased to 725. The existing performing arts building would be retained and incorporated into the replacement building’s design. During reconstruction, the student body & staff would be relocated to the new middle school on the Timberland site for one year, with temporary busing provided for access to the existing performing arts building.

The current project provides all of these elements with the exception of the gymnasium. In 2016, during the detailed scoping of the project the Building Administration, with Teaching and Learning leadership, recommended elimination of the gymnasium in favor of improved dance studios and a fitness center. The design drawings provided to the staff in that time period reflected this change. In 2017, the Building Administration further requested eliminating the fitness center for further dance studio improvements and expanded science classrooms. This request was approved and has been reflected in the plan since early 2018. It was also presented to the current ACMA staff during an April 2018 design review meeting.

As the school intends to fulfill physical education requirements through use of the dance studios and other activities, these requests were approved and incorporated into the final design as they meet the programming requirements for the school. To date, the current Building Administration and Teaching and Learning leadership does not desire a gymnasium.

Does the new building have room for future expansion of the student population and new programs?

As stated above, the scope of this project is to provide a replacement school to accommodate 725 students. Unlike a comprehensive school where we are forecasting additional capacity for population growth within the District, Options schools are much different with controlled enrollment numbers. Currently, there is no plan to grow the size of the ACMA student population.

Further, the parcel that ACMA sits on is small with zoning and boundary issues that limit the site’s ability to accomodate a larger school. Based on lengthy project scoping and design discussions with the City of Beaverton, we anticipate additional enrollment growth and additional building square footage at the site would require that we undertake a major realignment of the streets, site pavement, and increased parking.

Has the project scope been reduced due to budget?

The scope has not been reduced; however, the footprint, layout, and features of the building have changed through the normal design process. Building design is always an iterative process as we work to maximize what can be delivered for the budget available, meeting both basic requirements and aspirational goals. More often than not, the initial designs reflect more than can be delivered and are a starting point for tradeoffs and budget informed decisions. This was the process at ACMA, resulting in a design that fully meets the needs of the District and our students.

Overall, ACMA will have approximately 14,000 square feet of additional space in a much more efficient, purpose-designed building over what is currently in the C.E. Mason building and the portables.

Why do some teachers not have dedicated classrooms?

The new building eliminates the portables and increases the overall number of classrooms by four. Two additional teacher planning rooms are incorporated into the design. Like many other schools in the District, including Westview, Southridge, and Mountainside, these planning rooms are designed to give teachers without a dedicated classroom a work area. This is a standard across the District and is not new to the ACMA plan.

The Building Administration team is considering the use of these planning rooms as classrooms. With the 2018-2019 staff allocation, and two planning rooms converted to classrooms, three non full-time teachers (12 class periods in a week) would not have a dedicated classroom. If only one planning room is converted to a classroom, four non full-time teachers (20 class periods in a week) would not have a dedicated classroom. Of course, this is based on 2018-2019 staffing which may be different than 2021-2022 allocations.

What involvement did the ACMA staff have in project development?

During the preliminary programming and planning of the project in 2016, the staff and students on site participated in surveys of what they would like to see in the new building. The designers took the results of those surveys and incorporated the ideas within the preliminary design.

Facilities held 16 design concept and design review working groups with the staff throughout the process. There has also been 1-on-1 contact with specialty teachers to understand their needs. A great deal of staff and student input is reflected in the plans.

In April 2018, the ACMA staff was presented with drawings for review that reflected the current quantity of classrooms and square footage of program space. The current design, which differed from the April 2018 design only in circulation space reductions, was shared with the staff in October 2018. Design review meetings with individual departments were held following the release of both versions.

Contact with the ACMA Building Administrators (Principals Johnson and Paige) has been constant with over 60 meetings held. Our Building Administrators are the instructional leaders and represent the voice and needs of their staff.

Every decision was made while keeping the school informed along the way and plan reviews were held with the staff at critical junctures.

While staff input and their instructional expertise is invaluable to the process, we contract with professional architects and designers who have expertise in the design of educational facilities and understand how to shape a facility to support the programming. Beyond the staff’s expressed needs, our design team, in concert with Facilities, considers District standards, code compliance, budget, educational architectural innovations, and how to tie the many complex functions of a school into a single facility. As a result, the final product may not match the specific vision of each individual who provided input to the design.

What is the timeline for the project? Would increasing the size of the building affect the timeline?

The request for proposal for construction of the current design is currently advertised with proposals due in mid-April. Construction will commence this summer with a two-year construction period.

Increasing the size of the building or increasing the school capacity would first require a Board decision to significantly increase the project budget from the Bond Program Reserve. The additional cost would not only include building space but also parking increases, loss of green space, and major street improvements.

The Land Use and construction permitting processes would then have to be restarted. New construction drawings would need to be prepared and the project would have to be re-advertised for construction bidding. We estimate this would delay the project by a minimum of 18 months with a domino effect delaying the opening of the Timberland site as a middle school for two years.

Updated: 3/15/2018