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Lathrop’s bid to lease school annex nixed

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Lathrop’s bid to lease school annex nixed

Siblings Sebastian Pascua, 4, and Joshua de los Reyes, 9, get reacquainted with their old school, the Lathrop Annex on Thomsen Street, on their way home Monday from school at the Lathrop Elementary...


POSTED January 12, 2010 3:08 a.m.

LATHROP – Lathrop youth who stand to benefit from the construction of a $4 million Lathrop Youth and Teen Center complex can thank the Manteca Unified School District for the project’s accelerated schedule.

Barring any major unforeseen circumstances, the building could be ready for occupancy by the spring of 2012, according to information provided during the last Lathrop council meeting.

Council action on the Teen and Youth Center project was put on hold for several months while city officials tried to negotiate with the school district for the possible lease of the now-vacant Lathrop School Annex on Thomsen Street.

“The school district determined that because of the way they are funded, they can’t lease the school annex to the city,” nor can they sell the land to the city, City Manager Cary Keaten told the city council at the last meeting.

The school site would have been used in conjunction with the larger teen facility that is poised for construction, the city manager said.

Phone calls seeking comment from the school district was not returned as of press time.

After the school annex was closed due to budget cuts, the school district moved 11 portables to the Lathrop Elementary School site on Thomsen and Fifth streets for the K-2 classes that were relocated to the main campus, said Principal David Silveira.

There are still some portables left sitting in the school annex property, along with some portables from the county schools.

The closure of the school annex and the return of the K-2 classes to the main campus did not pose any significant problems such as overcrowding, Silveira said.

“There’s still plenty of space. It’s tight but having everybody together in one site is great,” instead of the feeling of having “two separate facilities,” he explained.

Mayor Kristy Sayles said money for the youth and teen center complex was allocated in May of last year, “so we have money to do it.”

The funds are from the city’s Community Improvement Projects account, with the money coming from developer fees and not from the taxpayers.

Sayles said members of the Youth Advisory Commission went before the council last spring and let the council know that they would like to see the project “go to construction pretty quickly.”

The East Lathrop Youth and Teen Building Complex – with half of its 15,000-square-foot total area to be constructed during the first phase of the project – will house not only the youth center but also the Lathrop Public Library. The library, which is a branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin Library System, is currently housed in smaller quarters on the first floor of a two-story building about a block to the north of the project site.

The Youth and Teen Center is actually part of the development and improvement of a whole city block bounded by Seventh Street to the east, Sixth Street to the west, Thomsen Street to the south and K Street to the north. Currently located at this site are the Lathrop Skate Park, a Head Start program facility, and the city’s corporation yard which includes the old Lathrop County Water District being used as office by corporation yard employees. This building, along with the boarded-up house at the northwest corner of the block, will be demolished as part of the $4 million project. The corporation yard will be moved to the old Lague Sales property on Louise Avenue just east of McKinley. The 12-acre Lague property was purchased by the city about two years ago. It includes a building, part of which will serve as offices for corporation yard staff, according to current plans. An arsenic-reduction plant is one of the plans being considered at this location as well. Lathrop, as well as other cities, is required by law to reduce legally allowable levels the arsenic content in the city’s drinking water.

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