Faculty District Considers $1.2 Million Window Substitute Mission at Santa Barbara Excessive | Faculty Zone

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The Santa Barbara Unified School District is looking to replace 102 windows at the Santa Barbara High School campus, a move that would cost the district about $1.26 million.

Funding for the project would come out of Measure I bond funds.

The school board was set to vote on the project on Feb. 9, but it was removed from the agenda so the project could be reviewed by the Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission.

Santa Barbara High is a city landmark, as are McKinley Elementary and La Cumbre and Santa Barbara junior high schools.

The windows in the main buildings at the landmark schools, which were built in the 1920s and ’30s, are original, said Steve Vizzolini, director of the district’s facilities and modernization.

“Many of the windows are in a state of considerable disrepair, with some screwed shut due to dry rot and other damage,” he told Noozhawk.

“We have consulted with an architect who has experience working with historical buildings, as well as a private contractor that specializes in historical restoration, and they both agree that replacement will be much more cost effective than restoration.”

Vizzolini said window replacements are also needed at La Cumbre and Santa Barbara junior highs, but there currently is only enough funding for Santa Barbara High.

“The project has already been delayed due to the process that was used to assess and prioritize the replacement of the windows at all three schools,” he said.

The upgrade has several advantages.

“Having operable windows in the areas included in the project will improve ventilation in the rooms in warm weather and provide better energy efficiency during cold weather,” Vizzolini said. “There will also be a major improvement to the aesthetics of both the interior and exterior of both of the buildings.”

In 2013, a district consultant developed a “wish-list” of maintenance projects for Measures Q & R bond funding, which included replacing windows at several of the older schools.

At the time, replacing historic windows at Santa Barbara High was estimated to cost $11 million. Most of the cost came not in the windows themselves but the historical wooden frames.

Since the high school is a city landmark it would need custom wooden frames matching the original color, the facilities director said at the time.

Principal Elise Simmons supports the project.

“There are multiple benefits to the Santa Barbara High School community,” she said. “The new windows will be completely operable and allow for teachers and students to open them during class time; this will improve the ventilation.”

The new windows, Simmons added, will also help to keep classrooms warmer in the winter, as well as block sound.

“And, the new windows will improve the beauty of our façade and inside the classrooms since most of the paint has completely faded and is chipped/peeling and some of the wood is damaged,” she said.

Lanny Ebenstein, a UC Santa Barbara lecturer and former school board member, has advocated for a window restoration project rather than replacement.

The estimated replacement cost comes out to about $12,400 per window, or as he put it, $1,400 per pane of glass.

“Our schools don’t have enough funds for so many things and to say the top priority is to spend $1.2 million on windows at Santa Barbara High School, I don’t think that is the case,” he said.

The project will be on the April 28 Historic Landmarks Commission agenda.

— Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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