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MUSD targets safety issues at New Haven

When a group of concerned New Haven Elementary School mothers approached the Manteca Unified School Board in June to raise safety concerns, they didn’t quite know what to expect.

The aging rural campus, which won’t see its Measure G bond improvements until 2020, had become both a logistical and student safety concern for parents who were tired of seeing the mass confusion during pickup and drop off times, and were worried that the waist-high fence wasn’t enough to stop somebody that wishes to do children harm from accessing the school.

But as of Tuesday night, all has been ironed out.

The same group of mothers – led by Andrea Baker – were on hand Tuesday to thank Superintendent Clark Burke and members of the board for coming out to tour the school site after the last meeting, and to pledge to begin working on plans that will revitalize the parking lot and its flow and tighten security at the aging campus – which still looks the same as it did when it opened decades ago.

“We’re glad that it worked out and that they listened to all of our concerns and are going to address them,” Baker said. “We’ve had issues with the parking lot for some time now, and we’re extraordinarily pleased that something is being done about it.”

But as the district readies the plans to upgrade the aging facilities at both New Haven and at Nile Garden – the district’s two “rural” schools that still sit on the outskirts of the community and cater to a largely agricultural base – some of the board are urging people to take things a bit slower when they’re going to or from either of those sites.

Trustee Nancy Teicheira, who represents Nile Garden parents on the board, reminded those in attendance on Tuesday that the schools themselves were built many years ago, and feature layouts that were never designed to accommodate the number of vehicles that go through them on a daily basis.

“Back then we had buses that picked up kids and brought them to campuses, so you may have had 20 cars in the parking lot for the teachers and the staff and that was it,” Teicheira said. “We’re making the changes, but things aren’t quite the way that they were, and we need to remember that.”

Considerable time was spent making sure that when Nile Garden undergoes its modernization that the campus will be laid out appropriately to accommodate the rise in vehicle traffic and an increase in the number of students that growth will bring.

The group didn’t state whether the New Haven upgrades will be part of their Measure G funding or not, stressing the fact that it’s only in the preliminary design phase at the moment.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.