Measure K UPDATE

Keeping It Local

local Long Beach architects

Long Beach Architects Create Jobs, Design School

Since Edgar Paz was a child growing up in Colombia, he has enjoyed solving puzzles, drawing and designing things. Today, he earns his living doing just that. He is one of the principals at Architects MSP, a Long Beach-based firm that has designed and modernized school buildings for nearly 20 years.

In the Long Beach Unified School District, MSP recently designed new classrooms and restrooms at Tucker and Harte elementary schools, as well as the new dental clinic at Avalon School on Catalina Island.

“About 75 percent of our business is designing schools, so we have the specialized knowledge and a level of quality assurance that enables us to work effectively with our school district partners,” Paz said.

Another key advantage is the local connection. He says most of the nine staff members in his firm also live in Long Beach. As residents, and in some cases, parents of school-aged children, they have a vested interest in the quality of schools.

For example, Terri Tasiemski, MSP’s executive secretary, is a product of Long Beach schools, as are her husband and their three children.

“One of my children has become a teacher due to the influence of her first grade teacher, Mrs. Seaton, who has since retired. My two oldest children benefited from the gifted program and have become successful college students,” Tasiemski said.

backhoe operator Mike Boer played with his kids at DeMille

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Signal Hill Geologists Help Ensure Earthquake Safety

Although the 1933 Long Beach earthquake was considered only moderate at 6.4 on the Richter Scale, hundreds of structures were destroyed or suffered major damage.

Today, California’s building standards and soil compaction methods have evolved to ensure that new construction projects will be earthquake safe. In the Long Beach Unified School District, before foundations are laid for new buildings, engineering experts conduct extensive evaluations of soil conditions.

Among these experts are the engineers at Associated Soils Engineering, Inc., a Signal Hill company that has been helping to ensure school safety for more than 30 years. Not long ago, the firm developed soil mitigation measures at McBride High School in Long Beach, the first of several small high schools to be funded by Measure K school bonds.

“Many Long Beach school sites are in a seismically active region, so it is critical that the foundations are properly designed and that soil is adequately modified and compacted,” said Ted Riddell, company president.

Associated Soils Engineering has been involved with numerous other LBUSD projects, including seismic retrofit designs, new science buildings at Jordan, Lakewood, Millikan, Polytechnic and Wilson high schools and the installation of elevators at schools with multi-story buildings.

The company has also conducted geotechnical engineering for building upgrades at Avalon School on Catalina Island and for the construction of Cabrillo High School, Colin Powell Academy, Polytechnic High School and International Elementary School.

The firm’s 12 employees include several Long Beach residents who feel a strong connection with local schools.

“Two generations of my family have passed through Long Beach schools,” said Project Engineer Gary Martin. “The work that the school district has done to upgrade facilities over time has been outstanding. “

“We are proud to partner with the school district in our own neighborhoods to build schools that are designed to withstand earthquakes and the test of time,” Riddell said. “We know these buildings will be around for many decades to come, serving the needs of thousands of students.”