Manuel F. Cunha Intermediate School Building C Safely Reopened

Half Moon Bay, Calif., Jan. 9, 2020 – Students, teachers, and staff at Manuel F. Cunha Intermediate School (Cunha) in the Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD) have moved out of portable classrooms and back into the two-story 24,000 square-foot Building C. The classroom building was repaired and renovated following the discovery of severe mold and water damage back in 2016.

“We are thrilled our students and teachers now have a safe and comfortable building for art, music, and science rather than the portable classrooms in use at Cunha for the last three years,” said CUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We certainly can thank the Governing Board and former administration for their support throughout a challenging time, and we also want to thank the Blach Construction project team who put us at ease and went above and beyond in their dedication to this complete building rehabilitation. I know the students and community we serve are now better off as a result.”

In 2016, CUSD received reports of wet carpeting and water present in some classrooms in Cunha’s Building C. The building, constructed in 2009, was closed immediately, and necessary investigations and measures were completed, including placement of portable classrooms for instruction and storage of furniture and equipment. Due to the existing partnership through other successful projects underway with Blach throughout the District, CUSD brought in the builders to assess damage stemming from structural issues and begin the repair process. 

“Every project we undertake involves careful attention to detail and all means necessary to deliver high quality, safe, and comfortable spaces for anyone using them,” said Blach Vice President of Operations Keith Craw. “This was amplified with the Cunha project. With the welfare of students and teachers at stake, we meticulously repaired and repeatedly tested the building’s renovated elements. And now it is extremely gratifying to provide the Half Moon Bay community with this long-awaited, fully restored building, knowing they can be completely confident in its safety.”

Breaking ground in August 2018, a first phase of the project involved demolition of the building’s exterior plaster, windows, doors, and other sections, exposing large-scale damage. Phase two repair of all interior damage and replacement of the exterior skin of the building were completed in August 2019, two months ahead of schedule. This included rebuilding entire sections of the south and north stairwells, replacing 25 roof joists of band room ceiling, replacing a majority of exterior sheathing, and replacing walls on the building’s south elevation. 

Blach Construction took multiple measures to ensure the building was repaired to the highest quality standards, employing specialized consultants and using rigorous inspection protocols, methods, and schedules. Partners included designer Anderson Brule Architects, waterproofing consultants Simpson, Gumphertz, & Heger, Consolidated Engineering Laboratories for window testing, and roofing manufacturer Silpast. A mold inhibitor was also used on all new and existing framing members and interior sides of sheathing to prevent future growth, and air samples were taken throughout the project to ensure all necessary air quality requirements were met. 

To deliver the project under budget, Blach made use of value engineering. Demolition and replacement scopes of work were phased to allow earlier removal of shrinkwrap and scaffolding. Additionally, classroom whiteboards and existing casework were salvaged, cleaned, protected, and replaced in the renovated building. Moreover, the team redesigned a stainless-steel guardrail system into a wood-framed plaster wall. Together, these extra steps achieved greater cost and schedule efficiencies and resulted in a much safer, repaired building. As a result, CUSD is pleased to now re-open this modern building for arts and sciences instruction for Cunha students.

About Cabrillo Unified School District

Cabrillo Unified School District serves approximately 3100 students at nine different school locations: Half Moon Bay High School, Cunha Intermediate School, El Granada Elementary School, Farallone View Elementary School, Alvin S. Hatch Elementary School, Kings Mountain Elementary School, Pilarcitos Alternative High School, La Costa Adult School, and Los Listos Pre-School. The district’s schools offer learning opportunities for families living in different communities of the beautiful Coastside area, including El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Miramar, Montara, Moss Beach, Princeton-by-the-Sea, and Woodside.

About Blach Construction

Founded in 1970, Blach Construction builds structures of enduring quality and value throughout the Greater Bay Area and Monterey. The company’s experience encompasses a broad cross-section of workplace, education, institutional and mixed-use building types, including technology, life sciences, professional services, healthcare, K-12 and higher education and civic/community facilities. A leading innovator, Blach is dedicated to continually incorporating advanced construction techniques, leveraging prefabrication, self-perform and virtual design and construction capabilities, while investing in new offerings and project delivery methods that enable greater efficiencies and bring increased value to clients.

The firm consistently wins awards across the construction industry and general business community for its projects, innovation, employee engagement and community service. Recently named the #1 “Best Place to Work” in the Bay Area (in the midsize category) by the Silicon Valley Business Journal/San Francisco Business Times, Blach has appeared on the list for 11 years running. The firm has received multiple “Construction Safety Excellence Awards” from the AGC of California, has been named a top 30 “Great Place to Work” by Fortune Magazine and ranked as a “Top Contractor in California” by Engineering News-Record.  

Blach is headquartered in San Jose and operates a branch office in Monterey that covers California’s Central Coast.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News