Safety was one of the big selling points of the $159 Measure G school bond.
And there is little doubt that Manteca Unified School District delivered on that promise with the first five schools to be modernized.
Anyone entering campus at the Golden West, Sequoia, Lathrop, Lincoln, and Shasta elementary schools now have to pass by the new front offices in clear view. Previously offices were away from the campus entrances with minimal windows and in one case — Shasta School — was in the middle of the campus.
New fire alarm systems have been installed that will be connected to local fire departments to let responding firefighters know when they receive a call exactly where a fire or smoke alarm is originating from on campus to reduce response time.
New intercom systems that use state-of-the-art technology to inform teachers and students of security issues. The system allows for a teacher to call the office in an emergency and leave the phone to tend to the concern thanks to the capability that picks up voices anywhere in the room allowing the office to communicate with teachers.
Security cameras will soon be placed throughout the campuses with the number needed drastically reduced due to the elimination of areas where hiding spaces were created by aging portables that were removed and replaced with new classrooms.
Positioned replacement classrooms for dilapidated portables as well as new structures such as the multipurpose room at Lincoln School in such a manner that they create defendable spaces while allowing administrators and others to have clean sight lines by eliminating crannies and pockets.
Reduced drop off and pick up congestion by creating longer drop-off zones with built in safety measures.
Dealing with traffic safety and controlling campus access are the most visible improvements.
At Golden West School, the modernization separated the bus and car passenger drop-off zone and employs a low wrought iron fence to prevent kids from darting across the drop-off zone and funnel them into marked crosswalks.
The $10.4 million redo of the Golden West campus near the city’s heaviest trafficked intersection of North Main and Louise Avenue where more than 36,000 vehicles pass daily based on the last time Manteca did traffic counts provides a prime example of security upgrades.
The office was relocated to the front entrance. Besides having a bank of tall windows that start near the floor to have a view of the entry way as well as glimpse into the heart of the campus, there are two entry doors — one to the front of the campus and the other to inside the campus. That means before or after school when the gates are looked, visitors have to pass through the office to get on campus.
The architect provided a feature at Golden West you won’t find at other Manteca Unified campuses. Instead of a 7-foot wrought iron security fence and gate at the front entrance there is a wall of glass panels and glass doors between the office building and a classroom building.
Glass entry panel
baffles street noise
Not only is it a nod to tie the front of the campus together as opposed to the previous hodge podge as well as fit in more uniformly with surrounding commercial, but it has a large practical purpose — it effectively baffles street noise in the open areas around classrooms near the front of the campus.
Areas between classroom wings where back doors opened to but where rarely used have been cleaned and areas created that are more conducive to teachers working with students outside if they wish.
The former home economics room that hadn’t been used for that purpose for years was transformed into a library.
Care was taken to maximum any existing features. In the library, for an example, several low windows that were in style when the campus was built in the 1970s, were incorporated in the library design with built-in “right-sized” bench seating for younger students to sit while reading.
The campus has standing water issues that were addressed with grading and concrete to enhance safety and drastically reduce maintenance costs.
An amphitheater was added near the multipurpose room.
The removal of portables on the backside of the campus allowed not just a more open feel but it allowed the district to enhance campus security.
Where ever possible, raised planters were designed to double as seating areas with added safeguards against damage from skaters and such.
Extra thought was also given to how new trees were staked. Instead of one or two lodge poles being used, three were employed to provide maximum support.
“We want to make sure the trees can mature,” said Aaron Bowers, Manteca Unified Director II of Facilities and Operations.
Deputy Superintendent Clark Burke said there was enough money saved in the Golden West campus modernization to paint the multipurpose room to match the rest of the campus.
That, along with metal touches on the façade, will tie the Golden West campus street view into a homogeneous look.
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