WD Helps District Secure $40 Million in AB 300 Funds

On June 30, Garden Grove USD secured $40 million in AB 300 funds for two high school campuses. Westgroup Designs completed the design of 210,000 SF at both sites with tier 1 and tier 2 DSA/OPSC approvals in less than nine months.

“I am thrilled and relieved that the State Allocation Board has provided facility hardship approvals under the Seismic Mitigation Program for La Quinta and Pacifica High Schools,” said Margaret Brown, Garden Grove USD’s Director of Facilities. “The State’s multi agency process for approving the plans and specifications is both demanding and complex. We need the best consultants working collaboratively to get the design right while meeting strict deadlines. Westgroup Designs led the team and was able to build consensus for a new design. These rebuilt schools will serve students and staff, as well as parents and the community, for decades to come.”

As part of Garden Grove USD’s facilities improvement efforts, Westgroup fast-track designed a total of 18 new buildings and six modernized existing buildings at La Quinta and Pacifica High Schools in order to meet the bi-annual deadline to secure AB 300 funds. In addition, the projects’ designs are strategically phased in construction as to not interrupt the day-to-day education activities of each campus.

In addition to their work with Garden Grove USD, Westgroup Designs is currently finishing construction of the $42 million Newcomb Academy from Long Beach USD that utilized $18 million of AB 300 funds.

Keys to the Success in Securing and Maximizing AB 300 Funds

1. DSA/OPSC Approvals – Successful approvals hinge on three core elements: trust relations, technical knowledge and funding knowledge. An architecture firm must have deep familiarity with government agencies, and a combination of both technical and funding knowledge enables the firm to effectively strategize the design process in order to maximize funding. With these three strengths, Westgroup’s in-house experts were able to negotiate with OPSC about funding concerns and strategically calculate the funds in accordance with the design.

2. Creative Design Solutions – Complex projects in need of fresh and modernized design elements must undergo strategic planning so as to expedite agency approvals. In order to fully aid Garden Grove USD, Westgroup created solutions that honed in on cost efficient design—not simplified design—in order to maximize the space of the campuses with the funding at hand.

3. Timing – Time is money, and transferring students to a different school or renting interim classrooms while facilities undergo construction is expensive and disruptive for educational delivery. Westgroup’s solution concentrated on a strategic, fast-track and complex phasing to rid the need of interim housing altogether, thereby allowing for day-to-day classroom activities to continue undisturbed.