The next comprehensive high school in Manteca Unified won’t be simply a newer version of the Sierra, Lathrop or Weston Ranch campuses.
And that goes from what is built to how its ongoing upkeep is funded. It also may include partnerships with the City of Manteca to save money, avoid duplication of facilities, and enhance services available to the community at large.
“There are a lot of conversations we need to have about the high school that will be built in South Manteca,” noted Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Jason Messer.
Even though work in earnest may not start on specific planning for the district’s sixth comprehensive high school campus for 5 to 10 years, the basic concepts need to be discussed and adopted in the near future to enable the district to work with the city and developers to put in place funding mechanisms prior to homes being built.
The price tag to develop the Tinnin Road site the district owns that is south of Woodward Avenue and midway between Union Road and Airport Way is expected to exceed $130 million in current dollars for a campus for up to 1,800 students. By contrast, an elementary school for 800 students costs between $25 million and $30 million.
While the city and district are exploring Mello-Roos districts and mitigated agreements with developments to augment development fees and bond money from local and state sources to build the high school and various elementary campuses needed south of the 120 Bypass, they are also looking at ways to reduce ongoing costs.
One example would be to combine a municipal park with the project to allow dual use of grassy areas and playing fields. The ongoing maintenance could be funded through a community facilities district that is wider spread than simply a subdivision LMD to cover common landscaping, neighborhood park upkeep and street lighting. In doing so the city could have another community park like Woodward Park with more facilities such as tennis courts and a football stadium to be used when the school isn’t using them as well as other grass areas.
By having a CFD fund the upkeep it would avoid a drain on both the municipal and school, district general fund budgets.
That is just one concept that Messer hope to explore.
Others include relocating Calla High — the alternative highs school campus now in aging buildings at East Highweay120 and Austin Road — onto one portion of the campus. Also on the table are things such as a joint venture library such is operated by the City of Stockton and Manteca Unified on the Weston Ranch High campus. Such an approach could be used for a swimming pool as well.
Messer noted different programs could be offered at the high school that would require facilities that existing campuses do not currently have.