School Construction Makes for Bad Neighbors

South San Francisco, CA   August 15, 2015


The $162,000,000 Measure J Bond was approved by over 70% of our South San Francisco voters as most realized our school facilities desperately needed upgrades.  Measure J was proposed “To provide safe, modern classrooms and educational support facilities by replacing deteriorated portable classrooms with permanent classrooms; repairing deteriorated roofs; providing disabled students access; upgrading science labs, libraries, technology and restrooms; enhancing safety, fire detection and security systems; improving energy efficiency; replacing outdated electrical, plumbing and heating systems…” To date the budget has been over spent by $11M and projects have not been completed leaving School District Trustees scrambling to find other funds to cover expenses. To read more about these concerns CLICK HERE

The new construction has had a host of problems stemming from poor planning including noncompetitive bids with all the projects going to the same company. In addition Project Frog, the company hired to do the modular construction company, did not have the qualifications to do the work and needed to hire outside companies.  And while the Bond was sold to the public to ‘replace deteriorated portable classrooms with permanent classrooms’ District official down play the concerns as they work towards the completion of the projects.

However, as the work continues on neighbors continue to have problems with the construction dirt, noise, and disruption. We understand there will be an inconvenience to those who live in the immediate area yet many of the problems have yet to be mitigated leaving homeowners fuming.

A neighbor in the area sums it up “What is going on the the THREE story high uncovered mound of dirt at the old Buri Buri Elementary School? I live near Indio Drive and the street is a complete filthy, dirty, dusty mess.There are dump trucks, street cleaners, (who by the way only spread more dirt), and other vehicles associated with the construction driving up and down the street daily.

For the past several weeks, I have had to keep my windows closed, hose off the vehicles, front porch and outside windows. How does the city expect me to conserve water??? Is the city going to issue vouchers so I can go to the car wash? What’s up??? If you drive by, you can see the huge mound of dirt the size of a building! Uncovered and blowing dirt down the street. Even makes it hard to breathe!I’d like an answer! ”

The view of Buri Buri from Randy Quok's home.

The view of Buri Buri from Randy Quok’s home.

This Buri Buri School construction  photo from the district shows how dirt is to be covered

This Buri Buri School construction photo from the district shows how dirt is to be covered


While the School District website shows completely different photos of compliant covering of dirt mounds and watering down of the dust, neighbors are sharing their reality.



Towering mounds of dirt can be seen from the Alta Mesa construction as shared by Bryan Lynch

Towering mounds of dirt can be seen from the Alta Mesa construction as shared by Bryan Lynch


It appears the concern is not only for Buri Buri Elementary but from all the schools that have gone through, or are going through, construction as Scott Poggenburg says We live on Wilms and the back of South City high. We have had the same issue for,what seems to be at least 2 year’s.The sad truth is that they really don’t care about the dirt and noise that the work cause’s.”

Wendy Kerbs-Keach brings up additional concerns regarding debris and storm drains as she writes “So my question is what was the cause of the flooding in Francisco Terrace area last December? I’m told that the storm drains became clogged from construction work at South City HS. We have construction in Buri Buri, and in Sunshine Gardens across from BART. What plan has been put in place to guarantee storm drains are protected & properly flushed of debris to prevent additional flooding when El Nino returns this winter?” she continues  “I’ve also been told that they are approved to work 7 days a week M-F 8-8; Sat 9-8pm; Sun 10-6pm; the planning office said that they are allowed to work during the hours above, and you can’t file a complaint because they are not doing anything wrong. I can learn to adjust to the noise and dust, however negligent storm/sewer maintenance is an issue that can be tragic. I want to know who is planning that piece…”


Neighbor Stephanie Miller has this to say, “I’m across the street from Buri Buri School. I have to agree. The dirt has covered our homes and cars, so much that my windows and paint on our vehicles are scratched up. I can’t open the windows of my home because the dirt blows right in. Only the past two weeks we have seen the street sweeper go up and down. That dirt pile should be covered and kept moist so we don’t have to eat dirt everyday. It will be nice to see this done!”


South City resident Peggy Deras commented “Many months ago, I contacted the School Board to ask to view the architectural plans for Buri Buri Elementary School. They did not have them available for viewing, on paper, or online. I requested that the plans be posted on the chain link fence that was erected around the project. To this date no plans are apparent.
I am a retired designer. The hodge-podge of buildings erected at Buri-Buri are a travesty. I can see no evidence of “design” in their arrangement. They seem to be just plunked wherever they will fit, with no regard to orientation to the sun, each other, or any recreation area. A bunch of disconnected buildings will be a nightmare to heat in the winter. I also question the many months of earth-moving that went on before construction began. Last week, I said to my husband, as we passed the school: “It looks like a prison”. He agreed. Every time I pass the school and notice the “Thank You Measure J Voters” sign. I cringe. I’m afraid we have taken a sub-standard school district and created a nightmare to maintain.”


UPDATED INFO BELOW: If you have a comment, question, or complaint please CLICK HERE for the district response form. You can also contact district office by phone at 650/877.8700. Our School Board Trustees can be reached by email by CLICKING on their name below:

Judy Bush         Patrick Lucy        Maurice Goodman       Rosa Acosta    Rick Ochsenhirt



UPDATE CORRECTION: The person to contact for updates and concerns on school construction within the SSFUSD is

Mr. Michael Krause Assistant Superintendent, Business Services SSFUSD 398 B Street SSF 94080

Email         Phone:  O: 650-877-8702         C: 650-784-1720


To learn more about the projects and construction by school CLICK on the links below:




We thank our City Leaders for their timely response to these concerns.



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