Pallets often become essential for navigating Manteca Unified school campuses during extensive periods of rain.
Not only do clogged drains and heavy downpours contribute to the problem but so does aging playground asphalt as well as grading-related issues that develop over time or — in some cases such as sections of the East Union High campus that flooded for years — due to initial design deficiencies.
“We could spend all of the Measure G bond money on playgrounds, (asphalt and grading) at all of our campuses,” noted Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke.
Burke noted site grading for the initial bond projects at Lincoln, Sequoia, Shasta, Lathrop, and Golden West schools took a significant amount of money to make sure slopes were adequate to drain water away from buildings and playgrounds.
Deputy Superintendent Roger Goatcher recalls being at Nile Garden School and how pallets were often employed during the rainy season to help students and staff cross standing water.
While standing water is a problem at all schools during sustained rain due to extensive impervious surfaces ranging from playgrounds and sidewalks to rooftops and parking lots, older campuses often have built in design problems.
Superintendent Jason Messer pointed to two examples.
Manteca High, he noted, has fairly narrow sidewalks that are often bordered by flower beds and such. The design is prone to puddle water which is why newer campuses have wider sidewalks and make minimal use of flower beds.
Another example involves how older elementary campuses often had a flower bed along concrete in breezeways connecting the administrative office to the kindergarten classroom. Over time as principals realized the flower beds created numerous issues including puddling of water, campus designs were changed to cover all of such areas with cement.
The fact Manteca is flat and can easily be swamped in heavy rains was the reason the East Union High campus had a large flooded area every winter by the faculty parking lot that was dubbed Lancer Lake the year the campus opened 50 years ago. The school deployed pallets at that time as well.
An early yearbook photo has students in a small boat crossing Lancer Lake.
In recent years flooding became an issue on the East Union quad requiring the use of pallets. The problem was caused by a growing tree that had shifted sidewalks creating drainage issues.
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