Foothills Sentry - February 2024

Foothills Sentry Page 2 February 2024 714-282-0828 HELPING YOU PROTECT WHAT MATTERS MOST! ACO 4202 Orange Plaza fountain repair is slow but steady Repair of the historic foun- tain in the Orange Plaza inched forward with the city council’s authorization, Jan. 9, to allocate an additional $46,559 to cover the purchase and installation of needed replacement tiles. The fountain was damaged last March by an out-of-control vehicle that rammed through the barriers at Chapman and Glassell, slammed into the fountain and flipped twice before stopping. Because the fountain has “his- toric” status, repairs must meet federal standards for historic rehabilitation. Those standards include selection of materials, at- tention to detail and installation techniques. It means contracting with numerous specialists who lend expertise to every aspect of the project, bringing them togeth- er and coordinating their efforts. It takes a lot of time. And money. Replacing the fountain tiles alone has been painstaking. The city engaged tile contrac- tor Charles McCandless, Inc. to remove the damaged tiles, grout and setting bed, and then install the new tiles with care taken to match the historical pattern. The original contract, awarded in April 2023, was for $21,900. McCandless was a likely choice because the company founder, Charles McCandless, installed the original fountain tile in the 1930s. McCandless subcontracted the tile fabrication to specialty ce- ramics company California Pot- tery. Once the color and glaze had been matched, the original con- tract was amended by $8,100 to pay for the historically-matched tiles and their initial installation. It wasn’t enough. A second con- tract amendment was needed to cover the purchase of more tiles and the remaining installation ex- penses. The city also hired a historic preservation consultant to aid in the selection of materials, installa- tion and finish details for the re- construction of the fountain basin. RLA Conservation was contracted for that work. During its work on the fountain, RLA identified some 120 tiles that, unrelated to the ac- cident, had been damaged over the years. The city agreed to replace those as well, bringing the total tile order, with an allowance for extras, to 1,100. The McCandless contract has been set not to exceed $76,559, with a built-in 10% contingency. There is no estimated completion date. OUSD property deal with OCCA charter school delayed By Tina Richards A proposed agreement to li- cense a portion of the Orange Unified School District’s Peralta site to the Orange County Clas- sical Academy for use as a high school attracted an overflow crowd to the Jan. 18 meeting of the district’s board of trustees. The proposed licensing agree- ment appeared on that night’s agenda, even though the terms of the contract had not been final- ized. Negotiations were sched- uled to take place during a closed session conference held prior to the public meeting slated to be- gin at 7 p.m. The licensing agree- ment was to be voted on during the open meeting, following what promised to be an avalanche of public input and board discus- sion. There was no vote. The Peralta property is just one location the board was consider- ing to aid in OCCA’s expansion plans. Esplanade Elementary was on the charter school’s radar be- cause it is directly adjacent to its present Walnut Street location. OCCA has proposed a gradual expansion into Esplanade begin- ning with eight classrooms next year, increasing to 24 classrooms by 2027-32. Esplanade fate on hold That proposal drew an on- slaught of protest from Esplanade students and parents specifically and OUSD constituents in gen- eral. Esplanade is primarily La- tino and also accommodates spe- cial needs students who do better in classes with fewer children. It is considered a “community school” and offers support and services for local families. Los- ing it to a charter school with more “privileged” students is, op- ponents said, a travesty. The board apparently listened and focused its attention on the Peralta site, for now. Under the tentative agreement published prior to the meeting, OUSD would grant OCCA a portion of the property including the gym- nasium, parking lot and grounds for 25 years. It would pay the dis- trict $275,000 annually. Before retiring into closed ses- sion, Trustee Kris Erickson had questions. “This was placed on the agenda against the advice of staff,” she said. “Can we discuss a lease vs. a license in closed ses- sion? Are we still negotiating? We’re going to be voting on this. What’s still being negotiated?" Voting on what? All that will be clear in closed session, OUSD’s consulting At- torney Spencer Covert said. “Whether we agree this is a lease or a license is foundational. It will determine how many votes are needed. What we are voting on will be disclosed in closed ses- sion.” Whether the agreement is a lease or a license is important. A license takes four votes to pass, a lease takes five. The next 30-plus minutes of the pre-closed session meeting, were taken up by OCCA stu- dents, who, one minute at a time, told the board how much they loved their school, how they were learning what was “beautiful and true” and that they really wanted to continue their education at an OCCA high school on the Peralta site. One of the young speakers was Trustee Madison Miner’s son. He, along with her other children, attend OCCA. The closed session meeting lasted until well after 7:30 p.m. When the board returned to the public meeting room, President John Ortega announced that they did not complete negotiating and that he was calling a special closed meeting for Jan. 23, during which time the discussion would resume. Because no agreement was in hand, the board would not be voting on the Peralta property that night. The posted agenda item was therefore continued to a future date. The OUSD recall is for Madison Miner and Rick Ledesma only because they have three more years in their terms. John Ortega and Angie Rumsey are finishing their terms this year and will face voters in November if they choose to run again. If the recall is successful, the governing board may call a special election or make provisional appointments to fill those seats. Questions about the Recall? The damaged fountain in the Orange Plaza is being repaired according to strict historical standards. Photo by Tony Richards