In 1961 the Alameda Unified School District built Lum Elementary School on “made land” — property that once lay beneath the waters of San Francisco Bay. Utah Construction had “made” this land in the mid-1950s when it filled in a portion of the bay to create South Shore. Four years later AUSD opened Will C. Wood Middle School on this same “made” land.
In a bit of irony, the school district hosted a meeting last Friday evening at the latter school to announce that it was closing the former school because the land beneath it was unstable.
Without question, our school district has faced some significant challenges in the 2016-17 school year, including the tragic passing of Board of Education Member Solana Henneberry, a lawsuit filed against Measure B and the recent recommendation we, as staff, had to make to the Board of Education to relocate students and staff from Lum Elementary School due to recent discoveries of seismic hazards and safety concerns at that school site.
The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) voted unanimously Tuesday, May 23, to move students off the Lum Elementary School campus for the 2017-18 school year. The decision came at Tuesday's school board meeting.
The decision came after consultation from several geotechnical, structural and architectural engineering firms, all of which concluded the Lum building foundations cannot withstand the significant soil liquefaction in the event of a strong earthquake.
One of my favorite tasks as a superintendent is reporting good news — such as school awards, innovative teaching practices, student successes and measures of community support that astound and enrich us year after year. We have had many reports of good news in the past year and in the years before that, and let us always remain mindful of, and grateful for, our wonderful schools.