Q&A with Plant Construction


We’re just three months away from breaking ground on the next phase of our Master Plan: the new three-story entrance building that will be our new face to the world on 10th Street.

As excitement builds, questions also bubble to the surface — what safety protocols will we put in place? Will parking be impacted? How confident are we, really, that the project will be completed on time?

We posed these questions and others to Bubbi Mroskey, our Project Manager at Plant Construction at a recent meeting. In case you missed it, Dave Lessing summed up the key takeaways for us:

What’s the project timeline?
Construction will begin this June, immediately following the end of the school year. Demolition will be finished before summer camp is in session, and the new building will start going up immediately thereafter. The whole project is scheduled for completion by August 2019 so we can be ready in time for the first day of the 2019-2020 school year.

How confident are we that the project will finish on time?
Very confident. Putting up a new building is almost always faster than renovating an existing one. Even allowing for unexpected hurdles or delays, our partners at Plant Construction have assured us that the full year we have allotted for the project is the right amount of time.

School projects can be slower because there are so many stakeholders involved in every decision along the way, but Plant Construction has an excellent track record on projects like this one. In fact, that’s why we chose them! Our project leads have worked on six school projects between them — all of which have been completed on schedule. It's clear that they value timeliness not only for the sake of honoring a contract, but also because they truly understand the unique needs of schools. (You can check out some of their school projects here.) As Bubbi explained to us, working with schools is especially rewarding for them, and they know that the first day of school is a deadline they cannot miss.

What do we need to know about air quality controls?
The dustiest phase of construction — demolition — will happen in early summer when school is closed. This is also when abatement for asbestos and PCBs will take place. No students or staff will be present during this time. The first walls will come down just two days after the school year ends, and we’ll be done with this stage in a matter of weeks.

We planned the timing this way so that the dust will have settled in time for us to head into summer camp with clear skies. We also have the flexibility to move our campers to the kindergarten classrooms, as far as possible from the work site.

Who will have access to the construction site during the school day?
First we should note that there will be a complete physical separation between the construction zone and school campus throughout the entirety of the project. As for who will be entering and exiting the work site, all of Plant’s workers and subcontractors will wear a label on their hard hat to clearly indicate that they’re part of the team.

Beyond that, we’ll have two security guards on duty throughout the school day, as well as 24-hour video surveillance and evening safety patrols. We’re also partnering with our neighbor, Saint Joseph’s, to improve security in the surrounding neighborhood.

What can we expect with regard to noise?
While noise is unavoidable, it won’t be unmanageable. We’ll work with teachers to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep classrooms as quiet and comfortable as possible.

Will construction impact parking?
The impact on parking should be minimal. Although we’ll lose several spots on 10th Street, we’ll regain a similar number of spots on Howard when construction at Saint Joseph’s wraps up this spring. The SFMTA is also adding a new "white zone" on Howard to keep drop-off and pick-up running smoothly.

Plant Construction promotes carpooling among their team members to lessen the burden on parking in the neighborhood. Since PKS is so close to Civic Center, much of their team will be able to use public transit, too.


Can our students be involved in the project in some way?
Projects like this are the perfect chance to put our progressive learning philosophy into action. As the year unfolds, we anticipate countless opportunities for students of all ages to put on their metaphorical hard hats and explore the project from a variety of academic and creative lenses. Once the building is nearly complete next spring, they’ll even don actual hard hats for job site tours with the construction team.

We can’t wait to break ground this summer. It’s a big undertaking to be sure, but will also be transformative in the life of our school. Stay tuned for more updates over the coming weeks and months. If you have any other questions, reach out to Dave Lessing at dave.lessing@presidioknolls.org.