top of page

Your Donations at Work


Without members, donors  and volunteers like you, our work would not be possible! It is our honor to continue our commitment to you through the restoration of the Historic 1911 School House nestled in the heart of Port Costa, California. In recent years we have made significant safety upgrades at the school. In addition to the completion of seismic retrofitting, the old knob and tube electrical system was replaced with new lines and electrical panels.  We have come so very far and lookforward to continuing our progress...


2015-2016 News, so much going on, keep up with on Facebook!

Sprinkler Systems, 2014

The installation of our state of the art fire sprinkler system with alarm was completed in 2014. These necessary improvements help us all sleep better at night knowing the school is better protected. 

Community Garden, 2013

Special Thanks the the Corockett Community Foundation for approving a 2013 Grant to build our beautiful Community Garden. With matching funds from the Port Costa Recycles Program, the PCCS, Golden Gate Overhead Doors, The Bull Valley Roadhouse and private donors, our community garden is thriving! 

New Transformer, 2012

In July 2012, PG&E crews installed a new 50kv transformer to serve the Port Costa School. It replaces the old 15kv transformer, powering the new electric service panel and allowing replacement of decades-old wiring. This coincides with a new 6-inch diameter water line installed by Contra Costa Water District in August which will supply the fire sprinklers scheduled to be installed throughout the building in October. The life-safety project is partially funded by a new Crockett Community Foundation grant of $60,000. 

Playground Repair and Improvment, 2009

The long-delayed project to repair the Port Costa School playground has officially been closed out with FEMA. It all started in a driving rainstorm on December 31, 2005, when debris – tree limbs, sheet metal, plastic buckets and styrofoam floats – jammed the culvert beneath the Port Costa School, forcing three feet of water up into the building, buckling the floor and blasting geysers of water through holes in the pavement outside.

Shortly thereafter, the PCCS applied to FEMA for assistance in remedying the disaster-prone situation, which created the second major flood in ten years. A FEMA-approved mitigation project resulted, which consisted of digging up the old storm drain and re-routing a new, larger one in front of the school. Unfortunately, construction activity tore up the playground so badly it was no longer safe for children, and the gate was closed.

A request was then made to FEMA for repair and restoration of the playground. After about two years, FEMA came through with its approval. 



The play equipment area has been dramatically improved, thanks to a $54,000 grant from the Crockett Community Foundation (CCF). The tanbark area enclosing the swings, slide and jungle gym has been enlarged, flanked by new crushed-rock walkways. The sidewalk has been replaced on its original course, leading from the front gate, around the flagpole to the center of the front steps of the school. New striping of the basketball court and handicap parking areas were also funded by the CCF grant.

ADA Ramp and Wheel Chair Lift, 2008

Robert Jones of R.A. Jones Construction wields the hose while fourteen cubic yards of concrete are poured to form a gently sloping ramp and elevator pad at the ground floor entrance to the Port Costa School. In the background at right is the entrance to the new handicap-accessible lift to the second floor, being funded by Community Development Block Grant and Crockett Community Foundation matching funds

Fresh Coat of Paint, 2007 

After weeks of prep work, water washing and sanding, painter Jim Campbell applies the first coat of primer to the Port Costa School. The new paint job was made possible by two anonymously donated grants and funds allocated from a 1997 Unocal class action lawsuit through the offices of Supervisor Gayle Uilkema and Congressman George Miller.

Volunteers Save the Day, 2006 

The Port Costa Conservation Society wishes to express great appreciation for the overwhelming turnout of volunteers who pitched in to clean up the Port Costa School on January 7 and 8, 2006 in the muddy wake of the New Year’s storm that resulted in 3feet of flooding in the school. Having this kind of dedicated support from our friends and neighbors is invaluable in helping us reach our goal of restoring this 1911 building for the use of the community. 

New Down Spouts, 2005 

The project includes new douwnspouts at all four corners, leader heads (the funnel part at the top), and concrete splash blocks where water exits the downspouts and is drained away from the building.

Total project cost is $4,466. The Crockett Community Foundation has awarded the Port Costa Conservation Society a capital improvement grant of $3,573, with matching grants of $743 from the Clare and Gordon Johnson Trust, and $150 from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The leader heads were donated by Jim Schultz. Contract work will be performed by Martinez Sheet Metal, Inc. The installation will put the finishing touch on roof repairs made in 1999 and 2000, and the skylight repair and restoration work in 2003.

Energy Efficient Lighting, 2003

Skylights on the Port Costa School, installed when the school was built in 1911, underwent much-needed repairs and restoration work last month. Jeff von Ranson (left) of Crockett and Bill List of Port Costa did the interior work, rebuilding the ceiling trusses. 


As of the end of March, restoration work on the Port Costa School skylights is 90 percent complete. Installed in 1911, the three skylights illuminate the main hallway upstairs, the two stairwells, and through a glass floor, the downstairs hallway. Exposed to decades of weathering by sun, wind and rain, the skylights were long overdue for maintenance and repair.

75% of the work was financed by a Crockett Community Foundation grant of $19,344. A $2,308 bequest from the Clare and Gordon Johnson Charitable Trust, and $4,140 in volunteer hours complete the $25,792 cost of the project. The work also includes restoration of all the windows in the auditorium.

The work involved building four plywood trusses to span the hallway and support the skylight. This interior work was done by Jeff von Ranson of Crockett and Bill List of Port Costa. On the roof, each piece of glass was removed and the metal framing cleaned. Broken panes were replaced, the new and cleaned glass reset on a bead of silicon and reglazed with polyurethane. Arrow Glass of Albany was the contractor for the roof work. Completing installation of new windows in the auditorium will finish the job. Maintenance work in the building is ongoing and volunteers are always welcome.

New ADA Bathrooms, 2001

The recent structural retrofit of the back wall of the Port Costa School building has resulted in a long-awaited change inside  – brand new modern, up-to-date restrooms. The new handicapped-accessible facilities, installed with a block grant from the Contra Costa County Community Development Department and donations from the Crockett Community Foundation and Pacific Custom Materials, were officially opened on August 11, the day of the Port Costa Flea Market. In keeping with the 1911 architectural style of the school building, the old Douglas fir wainscoting salvaged from the old restrooms has been re-installed in the new ones. In the photograph above, Mack Laughlin touches up one of the newly refurbished window frames.

FEMA Floors, 2001 

Finishers put the final touches on the last section of new concrete floors at the Port Costa School. Except for cleanup, this completes the construction funded by FEMA. The current project, two new ADA compliant restrooms, funded by a Community Development Block Grant and the Crockett Community Foundation will be dedicated at the Port Costa Flea Market, Antiques and Crafts Fair on August 11.  A contribution of $5,000 was also received from Pacific Custom Materials (the Port Costa Brickyard) for the projects.   

Construction in Full Swing, 2001 

From the outside there’s not much to see but a pile of concrete rubble, but the pace has definitely been stepped  up for the long awaited repairs to the Port Costa School building. Steel beams have been bolted into place and concrete work is underway to strengthen the foundation and back wall. The floor slab, which was undermined by water in the storm of January 1995, is being demolished and replaced with a new concrete floor.


 The main repair work is funded 75% ($114,800) by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), with the Port Costa Conservation Society picking up the rest ($37,000) through memberships, fund raisers, grants and donations. Rebuilding the two restrooms to ADA standards is being covered by a County Community Development Block Grant of $18,500. The Crockett Community Foundation has also contributed to the PCCS’ matching portion with a grant of $4,638.  Additionally, CCF donated $1,000 to last year’s Talent Show earnings of $7,344.  Pacific Customs Materials, Port Costa’s industrial aggregate neighbor, has also donated to the project with a contribution of $5,000. Other major donations include $4,000 from the Clare and Gordon Johnson Trust in San Francisco, and employee matching grants of $1,000 from Charles Schwab Co. and $332 from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Deadline for completion of the work is June 30, 2001. “The building will be ready for the Flea Market this summer, with brand new restrooms and brand new plumbing,” said Ridge Greene, PCCS chairman who is supervising the job on a pro bono basis. The new restrooms will feature the original V-groove Douglas Fir paneling that was  salvaged during the construction process. New energy-efficient lighting will also be installed.

New Roof, 2000

After many years of temporary patch jobs and bucket brigades in the dead of winter, the Port Costa School has a brand new roof. The job includes razing the old roof and installing new structural sheathing, drains and downspouts, tarpaper and gravel.  Before that could be done, however, the ceiling trusses in the auditorium and both classrooms had to be repaired and strengthened.  This was partially paid for by the two Community Development Block Grants received from the County.

 Cost of the new 7,500 sq. ft. roof is $35,000 and was paid for by the Conservation Society through your generous support.  In fund raising, the new roof is equivalent to four Talent Shows and two Flea Markets.

FEMA help for 1995's Flood Damage, 2000

Five years ago in January, torrential rains caused flooding at the Port Costa School. Rushing water surged under the school, creating hollow spots beneath the floor slabs.

   Today, with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), this damage is being repaired. Work includes new concrete footings for the back wall, which will be reinforced on the inside with a grid of rebar and concrete. Large areas of the downstairs floor slab will be removed and replaced. The existing structure will be tied into the newly reinforced wall with threaded steel rods and anchor bolts.

   This phase of construction should be done by the end of the year. Total project budget is $150,000, of which $113,000 will be funded by FEMA and the $37,000 balance by the Conservation Society.

   The Society has applied for a County grant to upgrade the bathroom plumbing and provide handicapped access required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As the ground floor will be opened up for slab work, it would save labor and money to replace the aging water pipes and sewer connections at the same time.  It may be several months before it is known whether or not the County will approve the grant.

   The new bathrooms will be partitioned off, with new doors off the main hallway. The Douglas fir paneling will be retained in keeping with the building’s architecture. Use of the schoolyard will be restricted from time to time for safety reasons. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. In the end we will have a dry school with a strong foundation – and we can use the school building again.

bottom of page