The Dorothea Lange Elementary School is located on a 15-acre parcel east of Via Alta Mesa Road in Nipomo. The project consisted of the construction of classrooms, an administration building, a multi-purpose building, a kindergarten area, restrooms, relocatable buildings, grass playing fields, hardcourts, and parking areas. Construction type is single-story, wood-frame, with conventional foundations and concrete slabs-on-grade.

Earth Systems provided extensive professional services for the project. Initially, the team conducted a Phase I environmental site assessment to evaluate areas of potential environmental concern. Aerial photographs, oil and gas maps, Federal and State environmental databases including the U.S. EPA Toxic Release Inventory System database were researched. Samples from near-surface soils were collected and analyzed for residual levels of agricultural chemicals. A soils engineering investigation and a geologic/seismic study were then conducted. Earth Systems provided geotechnical recommendations for site preparation, grading, utility trenches, foundations, slabs-on-grade, retaining walls, pavement sections, and site drainage. The geologic characteristics of the site, seismicity, and primary and secondary earthquake effects were addressed.

Because of the site’s past usage for agricultural purposes, Earth Systems performed a preliminary endangerment assessment during which borings were drilled and soil samples from the borings were analyzed for compounds such as lead, arsenic, mercury, organochlorine pesticides and organophosphate pesticides. The results of the assessment indicated that the site did not pose a hazard to public health or the environment and the project went into construction.

During construction Earth Systems technicians and inspectors performed grading observation and testing, foundation excavation observation, laboratory testing, and special inspection of construction materials. Construction of the school was completed in 2006.