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The "Origins" of the Port Costa Conservation Society (PCCS)...

Origins Port Costa Conservation Society was founded in 1979 by local residents to provide stewardship of a scenic 80-acre parcel of land on the Carquinez Strait donated by Time Oil Co. of Martinez. This land is now maintained by agreement with the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBPRD) as part of the Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline Park, with 1,415 acres of bluffs and waterfront featuring beautiful views, extensive trails, and abundant wildlife.

PCCS is an all-volunteer non-profit organization with no paid staff. Volunteers manage the business of the Society, maintaining the school and handling all project and event planning, publicity, grant proposals, financial reports, and tax filings. PCCS is not supported by any permanent grant or sponsor; it relies entirely on donations from supporters, income from fundraisers, and individual grants obtained for specific projects.

Port Costa School In 1988, the PCCS was allowed to purchase the Port Costa School building from the local school district through special legislation for the original cost of construction. It is the only public building in this secluded town of 200 residents and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Our purpose is to preserve and restore the building for its value as a part of California and local history, its significance to Port Costa as the town school since 1911, and ongoing as an important community resource for meetings, events, recreational and civic use.

The 1911 Classic Revival two-story school building was on the brink of collapse in 1988. With no maintenance since the school was closed in 1966, ceiling joists had cracked under the weight of rainwater pooling on the roof, plaster fell in sodden chunks from the ceiling, wooden floors buckled, and lack of proper drainage undermined the foundation. Two major floods did further major damage shortly after the building was acquired.

Since that low point, a new roof has been installed; all broken ceiling joists have been replaced, the building’s sagging back wall has been straightened, and new steel beams and concrete reinforce the four corners of the building.

A.D.A. restrooms and a handicap lift have been installed, more than 50 broken and boarded-up windows have been replaced, new doors are in place, and rusted sections of the metal fascia have been repaired. New primer and a fresh coat of paint have been applied to the exterior. Much of this was done with pro bono help from R.G.M. and Associates, a local commercial Construction Management firm.

However, major internal renovation is still needed to make the building fully functional as an historic site and community resource. It is estimated that it will take approximately $2,000,000 to accomplish that.

The future of the Port Costa School How to accomplish that has been an ongoing challenge for the Conservation Society. Please click here to read about a new opportunity with the educational program The Field Semester that has opened up for PCCS and the Port Costa School.


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