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What will happen to Lindbergh?

Manteca Unified looking for new use for old campus

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What will happen to Lindbergh?

Manteca Unified is trying to determine what to do with the Lindbergh School site on North Street in central Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED February 23, 2013 1:44 a.m.

Lindbergh School doesn’t have a future as a satellite campus for California State University at Stanislaus.

The proposal to create a community learning center at the former elementary campus built in 1927 in the 300 block of North Street has been deep-sixed. The plan was first advanced 19 months by Manteca officials in talks with the leadership at the Turlock CSU campus as well as Delta College. City of Manteca economic specialist Don Smail said the biggest stumbling block was the cost of making the school handicap accessible. Also, leadership changes at both CSU and Delta took away campus presidents that were pursuing the idea.

That leaves the Manteca Unified School District with a big challenge - what to do with the building.

District Superintendent Jason Messer said staff is currently exploring options to present to the school board. What they don’t want to do is leave it vacant which means any charter school would have the right under state law to take over the facility. Messer said the district also can’t afford to establish any K-12 programs as that would require bringing the structure up to state earthquake standards.

The Manteca Adult School was moved two years ago into the old district office complex in a bid to reduce district costs. Unless a community-based option comes up that could pass muster, Messer said the district needs to have a use that doesn’t incur a lot of cost such as storage.

“We are well aware of the historical significance of the school to many people in the community,” Messer said.

That means the district in all likelihood won’t be entertaining a land swap for the site for a new elementary campus in growth areas. In the past, there has been talk of selling the site to developers to build homes.

The district still has an automotive program operating out of buildings in the back of the campus as well as a preschool center that is operated in conjunction with the district’s teen mom program. The portable classrooms on site aren’t in good enough shape to justify the expense of relocating them elsewhere in the district.

Lindbergh is just one example of underutilized property the district has that was either once a school or else was purchased for a future school but then growth slowed.

The district purchased several sites for future schools with Measure M bond funds.

Messer noted new home construction is picking up in Manteca and Lathrop. That will in turn start generating more students.

The superintendent said some people can’t understand why the district doesn’t just sell the land and use the money for other facilities. Under state law, if the property was bought with bond money any funds collected from its sale has to go to retire that debt.  Messer noted since the district has already bought the land meeting it won’t have to worry about acquiring it when growth occurs.

The fourth Manteca high school site on Tinnin Road south of the city limits is currently being leased to a farmer. The same goes for the Rustic School site southeast of Airport Way and Woodward Avenue.

The Ethel Allen school site in Lathrop has been roughly graded and backstops placed on part of the land for community use.

The district is looking at putting in landscaping and a water well at the Union Ranch school site in the neighborhood east of Del Webb at Woodbridge in north Manteca.

Messer said the district wants to be good neighbors. Currently they have a contractor mow the weeds on the Union Ranch school site adjacent to a recently completed city park. Landscaping it will eliminate the eye spore as well as get a head start on landscaping for the future school.

“We know that sooner or later we will need a school there,” Messer said.

In the Tesoro neighborhood the district has a similar situation with a school site next to a city park in the neighborhood within the triangle bounded by Atherton Drive, Woodward Avenue and Van Ryn Road in southwest Manteca. In that case, though, the land bought was originally for a smaller annex campus to the Woodward School similar to the George McParland and the George McParland Annex in northwest Manteca.

The school board has since abandoned the annex approach.

Messer said that means the Tesoro site will either have to be a smaller school, a two-story school, or it could possibly be used in the future to trade for land with a developer to build a school elsewhere.

The district is also working with the City of Lathrop for possible users for the former Lathrop School Annex that is adjacent to Valverde Community Park.



To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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