The Long Beach Board of Education has approved a capital reserve initiative to cover the cost of the reconstruction of an area of Long Beach High School that was affected by the collapse of a carport ceiling in April.
On April 6, a section of ceiling at the eastern end of the high school’s ground-level parking lot fell to the ground. The ceiling was believed to have been installed in the early 1970s, and Long Beach Fire Chief Brian Guerin told the Herald that the collapse was most likely related to ongoing renovations at the school — part of a districtwide, $98.9 million school preservation plan approved by voters in 2009 to address the district’s aging infrastructure.
The school board opted to use funds in its capital reserve. Since they have been set aside for capital projects, the work will not result in a tax increase. However, voter approval is still required, with a community referendum set for Oct. 18 at East School, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
“Following a comprehensive review of Long Beach High School after the April ceiling collapse, structural engineers and the district’s architects and construction manager determined that we had to begin rebuilding the carport ceiling now to protect our mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure,” said Superintendent of Schools David Weiss in a statement. “Given the fact that we have sufficient money in the capital reserve to complete this work and it will not carry an additional cost to taxpayers, we are asking for their approval to use funds from this reserve.”
There is approximately $7 million in the capital reserve fund, and voters will be asked to authorize spending $5.7 million of it to demolish and rebuild the carport ceiling. The funds would also cover general construction and electrical, mechanical and plumbing work in areas in the immediate vicinity, including the high school’s main entrance, the lobby, the gym entrance the boy’s and girl’s locker rooms.