Report to BUSD Board, Presented June 22, 2005




The “recommendations to the Board” contained in past CCACCCAC reports have had mixed consequences. Some recommendations were not explicitly adopted. A few were adopted but abandoned when found ineffective or too difficult to sustain. But there is near consensus that the substance of all the reports, as well as the discussion at each meeting, have served the charge by raising either Board or public consciousness regarding the facilities program, providing “heads up” regarding problems and public perception, and generally making the District and the Facilities Department a more savvy player of the school facilities construction “game.”



Part 12.   Avoiding / Solving “Problematic” Programming Issues

A potential topic for CCACSCOC follow-up.


Why do some projects proposed by the District become “problematic” because of public dissent and opposition?


There are many possible reasons.  The Committee has discussed one of them in detail.  It is clear that, when faced with new projects, “People have irrational fears.” Often these fears are based upon presumption, misinformation or lack of information, and are exacerbated by insufficient time to adequately process information.


Berkeley residents can name many public planning and decision-making exercises which have not gone well. But the Committee is firmly convinced that dissent and obstructionism are NOT inevitable - even when the changes at issue are big and controversial; even in Berkeley where public dissent is a local sport.


See the appendix or the CCACSCOC website (  for a local example “preemptive concern-addressing”, a potent means for gathering public consensus and support for sensitive public use-change projects. 

Our recommendation is for the District to deal with these fears as a psychotherapist would.  

Although the tactics in of thise example ar may be too “fine-grained” for use to be used routinely by a large entity like a school district, BUSD HAS engaged in a version of “pre-emptive concern addressing” on three occasions when a great deal was at stake. Those successes help validate the concept. Prior to placing on the local ballot the first bond “A”, the second bond “AA” and parcel tax “BB”, and the most recent parcel tax, the District has contracted a carefully designed  telephone poll of Berkeley households to solicit residents’ opinions and priorities. In each case BUSD made its “go / no go” decision AND determined the size and the goals of its tax measures based upon the results of these surveys.


This is a method rarely if ever undertaken in Berkeley, even by the City of Berkeley. Instead Wwe can recall many name many episodes initiated by enthusiastic leaders  or activists who are very enthusiastic and are sure that most people will agree with the overwhelming “logic” of their plan but have no polling data to back up their confidence. At the first – typically premature - public meeting people appear and publicly raise objections. The initiators are (1) surprised, and (2) initially unsympathetic. Both reactions are fatal to realization of the initiators’ goal.


Perhaps these suggestions sound obvious and intuitive.  Then wWhy then, besides “cost”, are they so rarely heeded? BUSD deserves kudos for the number of times it has gotten planning right. The CCACSCOC would like to see these methods institutionalized and thereby increase the District’s success rate.


Notes on “How to Do It”


Show Respect: Part of the method’s potency is uniformly treating people’s concerns with respect; don’t dismiss them as misguided.  Systematically recording and responding to concerns shows respect for the public and heads off opposition.


Take Sufficient Time:     Public facilities planning and programming are not like other types of administrative decisions.  It involves:


A. Listening to all stake-holders. Listening cannot be hurried.

B. Identifying, disseminating and absorbing large bodies of information.

C. Invention, a process that cannot be accelerated by neither administrative will nor by resources.

D. Harmonizing conflicting interests.

E. Specifically addressing public concerns, whether “rational” or not.

F. Dealing with city and state procedures, timetables and plans.


Allowing too little time for these results assures “failure” - the certainty of in having to repeat the process or a of the project being stalled indefinitely by entrenched opposition. This wastes winds up wasting money and stuntsing the growth of our shared civic asset.


Part 32.  A Parking Structure on the BHS Tennis Courts Site

A “cause” for CCACSCOC championing - or at least follow-up.


On March 27, 2003 CCACSCOC commenced the discussion of parking at Berkeley High. The entire committee favors building a parking structure of compact “footprint” to contain the 230 parking spaces which are permanently allocated to BHS staff upon the BHS campus. The obvious location for a structure is the former tennis courts site on Milvia. Lloyd Lee suggested an alternative: parking beneath an elevated ball field. For eight subsequent months the CCACSCOC gave this its sustained attention. For the background and rationale see:

On October 23, 2003 the CCACSCOC heard a presentation by local developer Patrick Kennedy and city of Berkeley “parking czar" Matt Nichols. Mr. Kennedy, with Mr. Nichols looking on, proposed to build for BUSD at no cost to BUSD a parking structure on the tennis courts from which BUSD would receive all parking revenue. A summary of this presentation is available. (Contact CCACSCOC chair Bruce Wicinas for the MS Word .doc)


CCACSCOC halted its discussion through the duration through the duration of master planning at Berkeley High. The parking structure concept has now been endorsed by the master plan and waits to movemove forward.



Part 4. Capacities: BUSD and BHS

A potential topic for CCACSCOC follow-up.


In 2002 the attention of the committee was repeatedly drawn by the prolonged "capacities study" for which the Superintendent had commissioned a consultant, California Financial Services. All subsequent building program decision-making during that year was declared suspended pending outcome of this study. Near the year’s end the committee saw a partial draft. The CCACSCOC wrote a response in 1/2003. The Manager of Facilities also wrote a recommendation to the Board at this time. There have been no further recommendations by the District since that date. Nothing came of any of it.


In 2004 the committee heard a brief presentation by the consultant CCAC chair, who drew the three “zone” divisions for BUSD in 1993, regarding the recent history and rationale of BUSD capacity allocation. For North Zone elementary students and perhaps for sub-populations the capacity distribution remains an issue of some tension. The CCACSCOC agrees that questions remain, that capacity planning decisions have facilities consequences and that capacity allocation falls under the charge of no other oversight committee.


4Part 5.          “Special Use” Space vs. Flexible Space

A potential topic for CCACSCOC follow-up.


“Special use” space can be used for only one purpose. In many cases the District has yielded to community and parent pressure and built such spaces. Examples are new-concept food service and performing arts spaces. In some cases the outcome has been positive and the expense apparently justified by use and by community and staff satisfaction. In other cases, the space is “orphaned” by the time it is completed. BUSD facilities money has been spent on facilities which are under-used or are even perceived as liabilities.


What lessons can be learned from these efforts?  What mistakes can we avoid in the future? The Committee suggests: impose a “test” criterion. “Is there an alternate use this space can be adapted to?” (In case the constituency for the idiosyncratic use “goes away” by the time it is built.)


Over the life of the CCACSCOC we have looked at a variety of approaches by which the building were programmed. Most of the schools had strong site committees. Some spontaneously sprang up when the facilities improvements appeared on the horizon before “start” date of the District’s project timeline. Others (such as BHS) were programmed via public processes initiated by the District or by the Architect. The site committees had varying styles that reflected the members and leader. For example the G&H building programming was characterized by: “weak principal, strong departments.”


Inflexible programming decisions lead to inflexible buildings.


When the enthusiasm for the use or program goes away, the building becomes less useful.


Analyze whether the program for which there is current enthusiasm (and/or the constituency) might go away.  Require that there be an alternative use (i.e., a “plan B”) regarding the use of that space. There is more than enough history from which to pull some generalizations regarding these kinds of spaces.


Part 56.          “How Have the Buildings Performed?”

A potential topic for CCACSCOC follow-up.


In the course of the building program, programming decisions were made that became “form-determinants” of buildings. There should be an attempt to go back and see what worked. Some schools were designed around some theme or generating idea – was this facilitating or restrictive? For example, the unconventional design for Columbus was greeted with much hoopla. Cragmont was billed as “built around” its great room.  How do these programming decisions look with the perspective of years? How do students, staff and parents feel about these schools? What was the discussion that led to grand program decisions? How was the program manifested? How have the plan, components, materials, and systems performed?


There are many ways to apply the “Did it work?” criterion.


Part 7. Appendix

Past Reports & Topics of Interest; “Pre-emptive Concern Addressing”


Topics of Interest indicated by the Board in the recent past  At the presentation of its most recent “Annual Report” in 2002 the Board indicated interest in the following topics


1) Possible futures for unused properties,

2) Future rehab of District properties not covered by the bond (Oregon St., etc),

3) Energy Efficiency and "Green" Standards,

4) Life cycle and maintainability regarding construction materials and hardware.


Committee discussions of these led to no report. It proved beyond the capacity of a small volunteer committee to produce a policy manual which would serve the District’s need. But committee discussions helped inform the hiring of consultants. It is possible for the CCACSCOC to re-approach aspects with a tighter scope.


Bibliography of CCACSCOC authored or sponsored Documents and Media, 1996 to present  Find the “CCACSCOC Bibliography” online at  Several documents are on the web - the best means to connect public & consultant interest to information. Other documents or forms of media can be obtained from the Facilities Department or from the committee chair.  Most of the referenced documents have been previously accepted by the Board. The topic headings:


·        BHS Food service – Planning Issues

·        BHS Pre-programming, 2001 –

·        BHS Parking: A Parking Structure on the Tennis Courts

·        “Budget Monitoring”

·        Capacities, BUSD/BHS: Response to consultant’s 2002 “Capacities Study”

·        The Construction Program Computer Control System

·        Energy Policy

·        Inflation of Construction Cost: Enumeration of Contributing Factors

·        Inflation of Construction Cost, Sources: Lack of "As-builts"

·        Inflation of Construction Cost, Sources: "Constructability" Reviews

·        Inflation of Construction Cost, Sources: Analysis of Change Orders

·        Inflation of Construction Cost, Sources: The "Program Inflation" phenomenon.

·        Life cycle Costs

·        Master Planning at BHS, (Incomplete) History 1937 to Present

·        Moving and Storing (to/from temporary location during construction)

·        Old Gym Pre-Programming Workshop

·        The "Orange Book" (2000)

·        Parcel Tax: Proposal for a new parcel tax in 2000

·        Pilfering

·        Pre-qualifying of Bidders: EMR (Experience Modification Rating) and other schemes

·        Press and Public Information

·        Principals' Needs Survey

·        Project Commissioning

·        "Project Manual Steps"

·        “State of the Construction Program” (2001)

·         Video Documentary by Quest Productions for 1998 Public Forum


Pre-emptive Concern-Addressing  It is clear that, when faced with new projects, “People have irrational fears.” Often these fears are based upon presumption, misinformation or lack of information, and are exacerbated by insufficient time to adequately process information. Our recommendation is for the District to deal with these fears as a psychotherapist would. Listen earnestly to all concerns and write them all down. Characterize them; tally them; ask questions about them. Then commence a sincere effort to answer the concerns. “Here’s the response to ____.” Once the truth has been ascertained and answers have been researched, publish the concerns and the responses.


An example of “preemptive concern-addressing” in Berkeley  Around 1994 a few neighbors in the vicinity of Prince St. and Halcyon considered converting a middle-right-of-way parking lot to a park. Though everyone enjoyed the idea as a fantasy, residents became anxious when they learned that a few neighbors were seriously pursing it. The city of Berkeley was completely opposed, listing a roster of objections. The small founders group pursued a quiet, patient, homework-intensive method. A large public meeting was not held. First they distributed a written survey to every household in the vicinity and doggedly retrieved them all. Neighborhood concerns clustered into two: sufficiency of parking and increased crime. The parking need of every household in the vicinity was tallied. The total number of parking spaces required by residents was compared to the number of on-street spaces available without the parking lot. This computation showed that residents did not need the parking lot. In fact the lot was being exploited by non-residents. Regarding the crime question the activists contacted the police department. The Community Affairs Bureau predicted no crime problem with the park as designed and agreed to provide a letter of endorsement from chief of police Butler. “Armed” with these information assets the activist visited every household in the vicinity to talk face to face through individuals’ concerns. As a result of this thorough, “preemptive” addressing of the publics’ concerns this project cleared hurdles of approval of all levels of city government in record time without a whisper of public dissent. All this process-shepherding was done by the neighborhood activists who sponsored the project. If done by paid consultants it would surely have been expensive.


The value of prior “concern-addressing” was evident. By the time of its opening the new park’s unanimous support make it a project for which every public figure sought credit.