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Five school makeovers before board
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Five older elementary schools are about to get 21st century makeovers.

The Manteca Unified board Tuesday is being asked to give its blessing to the first projects funded under the $159 million voter approved Measure G bonds. The board meets at 7 p.m. at the district office, 2271 W. Louise Ave., Manteca.

The first wave of $56.4 million in modernization projects are at Lincoln, Sequoia, Lathrop, Golden West, and Shasta schools.

The five schools picked to go first were selected based on being the oldest and most in need of modernization as well as the fact they are eligible for state funding when it is available to help offset some of the costs.

The goal is to start work by early 2016. The modernization effort is being scheduled so as not to disrupt classes although there will be work taking place while school is in session as well as next summer.

Existing classrooms at Lincoln School — as well as many at the other four schools — will be reconfigured where needed to maximize space. Computer labs are being converted to other uses since the distribution of tablets to the district’s 23,500 students have rendered their use moot.

The projects will include modernization of everything from the electrical service to the flooring.

The 1950s era Lincoln School — when work is completed — will have a new front entrance while the current entrance along Yosemite Avenue will be restored to its original look.

The new entrance along Powers Avenue is designed to improve security and significantly increase the safety of children going to and from school as well as reduce traffic congestion on Yosemite Avenue.

A new multipurpose room will be built where the playground along Powers Avenue is now located along with an administrative office. The existing circular driveway will be removed and replaced with a larger one that will allow for a less congested drop off of students as well as establish one entrance to the campus for security purposes.

The use of Powers Avenue will significantly improve traffic flow given that across the street is a sound wall for the Curran Grove neighborhood and school playing fields and a city park are to the south and a preschool and service station to the north. The current Yosemite Avenue entrance besides being on the city’s second heaviest traveled east-west street is surrounded by commercial ventures.

The existing main entrance door will be accessed only by teachers with keys plus will automatically close after it is opened. The same is true for other exterior gates on the campus.

The existing cafeteria structure will be reconfigured as classrooms while a kitchen facility that is currently in a portable building will be replaced.


Sequoia School

Sequoia School will no longer face Martha Street as it has for more than a half a century after the $8.4 million modernization project is completed. Instead, a new office will be built next to the multi-purpose room completed a few years back along Wawona Street.

The entire campus will be re-orientated and reconfigured to improve security as well so the campus can be effectively locked down in emergencies.


Golden West

At Golden West, the $14 million modernization effort will include enhancing safety and security.

A new office will be built at the entrance and classrooms will be grouped so they can easily be locked down.

Not only will frayed carpet be removed but so well the asbestos tile that has been sealed beneath them for years.

Given that the asbestos tile can break or could be damaged when carpet is ripped out, hazmat crews will do that part of the demolition.

Golden West School will have new facade touches to the front so it blends in with the architecture of the newer community gym.


Shasta School

Shasta School’s $8.3 modernization will also maximize classroom space, provide new flooring, and upgrade electrical systems among other things.

The cost is lower due to the fact the original campus consists of concrete block buildings.

To improve security, a new office will be built along Edison Street with the existing complex at the center of the campus converted into classrooms.

A new classroom wing will replace portables. The design of the buildings facing Edison will pick up the architectural nuances of the multipurpose room completed several years ago to give the campus a unified look.

Where the portables are now located near Edison, additional parking will be provided.

Most projects won’t contain additional parking but since the Shasta portables are being removed and work had to be done with the ground anyway, district officials said it made sense to take additional steps to improve traffic flow in the front of the school.


Lathrop School

Lathrop Elementary School safety — both on campus as well as during drop-off and pick-up times along Fifth Street — will be significantly improved with the envisioned $14.6 million modernization project.

 Neighbors and parents alike have complained for years about the hodge podge situation regarding before and after school traffic. 

The bond project will clean up the traffic issues, add sidewalks, provide a bus drop off and create one main entrance to the campus.

Reconstruction will include building a new office at the main entrance and securing the campus in a manner that it is defensible if an incident occurs.

And if by chance there is a lockdown or some other emergency in 2018 at Lathrop Elementary School, teachers will immediately know exactly what is going on.

That’s because the Measure G modernization effort includes installing digital wall clocks that can be converted to message mode to post information from the office so teachers can take immediate steps to secure student safety based on the incident that is occurring.

It is just one common feature that the five elementary schools being modernized in the initial wave of school bond projects expected to cost $56.4 million will have in common.

Access gates that aren’t at the main entrance will be designed to automatically close once a faculty member using a key passes through them.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email