Rachlin Partners

Case Study

Los Alamitos Unified School District

Rachlin Partners was selected by Los Alamitos Unified School District in 2006 to provide Needs Assessment and Architectural Services for the renovation and modernization of its ten K-12 campuses.

Rachlin serves as an extension of the District itself, reporting directly to Deputy Superintendent Patricia Meyer. The firm’s role as an owner’s representative includes such standard elements as:

  • Value management decisions
  • Providing and evaluating life-cycle cost options
  • Minimizing contractor-submitted change orders
  • Review and monitoring of processing of pay applications

Rachlin has earned a reputation for providing the District with a predictable outcome. The Rachlin team’s management and financial processes and reporting mechanisms allow the Deputy Superintendent, Superintendent, and School Board to responsibly monitor both Program and Project Implementation status and progress at all times. The firm reports to the School Board on abimonthly basis and to a 5-person Citizen’s Oversight Committee on a quarterly basis to address community issues.

After a rigorous selection process for a PM/CM services provider, the District expanded Rachlin’s role to include Program and Construction Management of the $126M Measure K Bond Program.







Our work with Los Alamitos Unified School District is an excellent example of the efficiency we bring to our clients.

In 2006, the District selected Rachlin Partners to provide Needs Assessment and Architectural Service for the renovation and modernization of its 10 campuses. After a rigorous selection process for a PM / CM services provider, the District expanded Rachlin’s role to include Program and Construction Management of the $126 million Measure K Bond Program. Rachlin served as an extension of the District itself, reporting directly to Deputy Superintendent Patricia Meyer.

In our role as Owner’s Representative, we have delivered efficient management resulting in soft project costs of 18%, which is considerably lower than the typical 30% associated with building programs. The cost savings allowed the District to fund an additional bonus project, in this case a new Track & Field for Los Alamitos High School.



A clear understanding of roles

At the outset of the Measure K Bond Program, we established a whole-project culture that outlined best practices for partnering between all constituents. With all expectations clearly articulated at the outset, consensus on Program objectives was swiftly reached.

Rachlin Partners coordinated with the District’s Bond Consultant and Eligibility Consultant to maximize program feasibility and State matching funds.



Finding the way to the goal and beyond.

In fulfilling the Los Alamitos Unified Measure K Bond, Rachlin’s team has held administrative costs down to 18% of the project budget – considerably less than the standard 30% traditionally associated with these building programs. This savings will allow the District to complete all of the projects promised to the community in the original Measure K Bond, and to add projects from their "wish list." The largest of these is an All-Weather Track & Field project, with NCAA-regulation soccer field and bleachers, at Los Alamitos High School.

More than halfway through completion, the $126M program for the Los Alamitos Unified School District is demonstrating the appeal of the managing architect model.







As steward of the $126M Measure K Bond funds, Rachlin is responsible for disbursing funds and managing all Program financial management elements. Our comprehensive system tracks projects and funding, then generates a Monthly Status Report that is submitted to the District.


Standardizing the operations.

Rachlin Partners developed a variety of global systems to support the Program effort, including:

  • District standards for new construction, modernization and renovation
  • An energy analysis / savings and rebate processing program
  • Interim housing alternatives analysis and cost comparison
  • Development of standards for RFP/RFQ evaluation and scoring
  • RFP/RFQ and leases for temporary portable buildings
  • Purchase and rental of storage containers
  • Administration of contracts
  • Coordination with District legal / business / contracts support



Interpersonal skills are the highest art.

Representatives stationed at each school function as on-site Program and Construction Managers to handle those facilities-related issues that are outside the scope of construction, such as:

  • Coordinating with District vendors
  • Coordinating between the movers and the sites
  • Monitoring the construction schedule
  • Reviewing and processing construction-related documentation
  • Oversight of hazardous materials remediation
  • Managing the work of the Architects and Engineers
  • Reviewing and processing payment applications and change orders.



Orchestrating positive cooperation.

As the Los Alamitos Unified School District’s on-site representative for oversight of all construction-related issues, Rachlin collaborates with campus staff to reconcile each school’s requirements and the academic calendar with the construction schedule.

The General Contractor must develop an implementation plan that meets the District’s schedule while minimally impacting its academic calendar, and ensures the safety of students and staff while construction is underway. Rachlin Construction Managers work closely with the General Contractor to assure that this implementation plan meets District requirements and stays on-track for budget and schedule during the course of construction. One benefit of expanding the Architect’s role into Construction Management is the continuity of full time, on-site design professionals familiar with all programming and design issues affecting the various projects on each campus.



A Strategic On-Site Presence.

Maintaining an on-site presence during construction enhances collaboration with the General Contractor, allowing for decisions to be made on the spot and tracked in real-time. Projects stay on schedule and the delivery process runs more smoothly.

This full-time presence on the campus also benefits the District. Working with school Principals and the community while construction is underway helps to demonstrate that their concerns are being addressed promptly. It also helps to minimize the impact of construction on school activities and on the learning process itself.

Our oversight of the General Contractor is robust. The on-site representative holds weekly meetings that maintain a rigorous level of detail, facilitating the completion of projects on time and on budget.

Other duties include:

  • Swing space and move coordination
  • Community outreach for campus open houses and distribution of information regarding campus construction issues
  • Liaison between Principals, District, and the construction team
  • Bimonthly reporting to the Program Managers
  • Management of signage and wayfinding
  • Clearing house for salvage and storage of District facilities equipment
  • Conducting material and equipment training programs
  • Management of warranty period
  • Assurance that the Contractor has established secure paths of travel for campus staff during construction.

Our on-site coordination also includes scheduling site activities around the construction timeline, leading pre-construction meetings with construction and design teams, immediate resolution of any on-site issues or conflicts, and overseeing the accommodation of District priority items such as trees and memorials.







Rachlin Partners has a history of quality service. Our commitment to responsible service through the direct and continuous involvement of principals Michael Rachlin and Richard Ingrassia is a key factor in sustaining long-term relationships with our clients. A testament to this service is the fact that a majority of our firm’s repeat business is from satisfied clients.

Clients especially appreciate the expertise we bring as combined Architects, Program Managers, and Construction Managers. We understand design and construction from both sides of the table and leverage this knowledge to create "whole-project cultures" that consistently results in successful projects. Our clients attest to our expertise to successfully partner with them to deliver innovative and budget—responsive facilities that further their goals.






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