The high demand and limited space for preschool places in South San Francisco raised the waiting list to 700 with only 134 children at three program locations, leading officials to discuss plans for a new facility in the Westborough neighborhood.
The Parks and Recreation division currently operates three pre-school program locations, Siebecker, Westborough and Little Steps. The city council met on July 28th to discuss plans for the new preschool, which would add about 80 places. The Carter Preschool Project would have four classrooms, two student toilets next to the classrooms, a third staff toilet, office and administration rooms, a break room for teachers, a kitchen and a staff support area and a partially protected open play area on the terrace for exclusive use through preschool. It would also have an adjoining playground that would be shared by the public but used exclusively by the preschool for about three hours a day. And there are two in-house parking lots with around 22 parking spaces as well as street parking spaces around the entire square.
“We decided that this location, centrally on Carter Drive, so to speak, is the best. Not only does it provide convenient access to both car parks, but it also has the least amount of disruption to existing parking facilities, ”said Greg Mediati, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation.
The team studied and compared traditional and modular construction methods and concluded that modular construction would be a desirable option as it could save between $ 1.5 million in costs.
Modular means a prefabricated building that is manufactured, delivered and installed off-site.
“The type of module we’re looking at uses the same materials and the only real difference is that it’s made in a workshop rather than on-site,” said Greg Hielsberg, project manager and architect at Ittner Architects.
One of the downsides is that it would be more difficult to redesign.
“There are definitely size constraints on what can be carried from the construction site to the actual project location,” said Hielsberg. “With just a traditional design being built, you have the flexibility and the ability to change things, even if we’re on construction documents. It’s a bit different with Modular because we’re basically at the end of the design development. “
Vice Mayor Mark Nagales raised concerns about modularity as there was no flexibility in use and space.
“If we go for the modular layout, we have to get it right,” he said.
He also raised concerns about the possible noise of the playground.
“We definitely took this into account when considering the location, which was one of the factors that prevented it from being directly adjacent to the residential properties in the east,” said Philip Vitale, Deputy Director of Capital Projects.
The location of the project was also decided based on its data in order to meet a high demand, Mediati said. However, Councilor Buenaflor Nicolas said she wanted the nearest preschool to be in a fairer area.
“If you look at the latest census tract, it shows that the Westborough area has the highest median income,” she said.
Councilor James Coleman said he would like to use local union workers on the construction whenever possible to ensure they get fair wages and use this as a way to invest in the community.
The project was originally introduced for three classrooms but was changed to four after Mayor Mark Addiego said he preferred to make more space. With the fourth classroom, the entire facility is designed for up to 80 children, with 20 students in each classroom of almost 900 square meters. The classrooms have a storage area, refrigerator, and sink for adults and children for groceries and craft activities.
The employees recommend further investigating the modular structure with a focus on cost and deadline savings and confirming product availability and the modular procurement process. And it will request a mid-year or stand-alone budget change for a revised project budget amount.
It is planned to use the impact of childcare fees to fund the project, which currently has a balance of $ 6.7 million. And it’s forecast to be $ 15.7 million by the end of fiscal year 2023 or 2024.
The department is working with SIM Architects to create a master plan for childcare. And it is currently doing research and interviewing stakeholders to better understand the state of the country. It is planned to return to the city council with a draft plan by December 2021 or January 2022.