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MHS cafeterias $1.4M upgrades part of bond
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When the Manteca Unified Measure M Oversight Committee files its mandated annual report in January, one of the projects that will be highlighted is the $1.4 million facelift of the Manteca High School Cafeteria.

When it was completed at the end of this past summer, the grand re-opening ceremony that celebrated the facelift of the dining heart of the campus was marked with singing, dancing and special give-away prizes.

The lion’s share of the $1.4 million total bill went to the remodeling of the cafeteria. The work that was done to this area of the Buffalo campus included safety-related improvements. As the oldest high school campus in the Manteca Unified School District, the school had a number of areas where it needed to be ADA-compliant, per the mandate of the American Disabilities Act, by being wheelchair-accessible. A portion of the counter where students place their meals in the cafeteria was lowered, for instance. Ditto with one of the windows where students place their food orders.

The improvements also made the cafeteria more energy efficient with the creation of a spacious walk-in freezer, for example, in addition to creating a more airy and open working area for the cafeteria staff.

At this point, the expenses that went into upgrading the Manteca High cafeteria have been charged to the Nutrition Services Department of the Manteca Unified School District, said MUSD Senior Director of Business Services Jacqui Breitenbucher during the Measure M Citizens Oversight Committee’s meeting on Wednesday at the school district board room.

In the committee’s January 2012 report update, the highlight was the completion of the multi-purpose gymnasium at French Camp School. The new 18,383-square-foot facility was completed in January 2011. In addition to being used for athletic events, the gymnasium was also built for performing arts, student assemblies, and cafeteria. It was also a joint-use project with the Boys and Girls Club. Grand opening for this project was held on Feb. 24, 2011.

Making sure Manteca Unified bonds are spent on projects that the voters approved, and that the funds are spent in a timely manner, is the primary responsibility of the oversight committee.

Two other projects of concern to the committee which have already started are the improvements of the Sierra High School softball field with a total budget of $160,000 including contingency expenses, and the Weston Ranch High School Greenhouse project.

The Measure M Oversight Committee is currently made up of Denise Mathews, Sharon Hathaway, Robin Meglan, Mary Mueller, and Ray Tolle who is the current chairman. Two seats on the seven-panel remain open to applicants who are interested in being appointed to the committee by the MUSD Board of Trustees.

The next meeting of the Oversight Committee will take place on Dec. 12 starting at 6 p.m. in the school district board room. The annual audit report is expected to be presented to the Board of Trustees on Jan. 15, 2013.