The ideas ranged from buying out entire blocks of homes to expand the campus to how the configuration of Manteca High’s new entrance on Moffat Boulevard would be laid out.
But while the ideas may have seemed far-fetched on the surface, the effort of Manteca Unified School District administrators to seek the input of the community about how best to overhaul the 96-year-old campus seems to have paid off – drawing dozens Thursday night for the second such session in a three-day span intended to create a list of priorities to be addressed first.
Currently, Manteca High is sixth on the list of campuses within the district that will be modernized with funds from the $159 million bond that was approved by voters – $32 million of which will help address safety concerns and necessary improvements that come with being one of the oldest campuses in the district.
According to Superintendent Jason Messer, once the list of improvements that were gleaned from the first round of community forums is compiled, it will be available for the public to discuss and offer input prior to it being sent to the Board of Education for consideration and approval.
Some of the prevailing themes mentioned Thursday that coincided with the previous meeting on Tuesday included:
uClosing Garfield Avenue at the end of on the northern end of the street to unify the two segments of the campus that is open to pedestrian traffic during the middle of the school day. Teachers have complained about bringing students back and forth across the street and having run-ins with homeless individuals, and the idea has the support of some on the city council that agree that it’s a safety issue.
uLooking into purchasing land along Moffat Boulevard to expand the campus and create more room for classrooms and renovations as the school prepares for a growth boom that could end up increasing the student population by as much as 40 percent. According to Messer, the idea of attempting to purchase properties that are currently businesses is not something that the district will take off the table, explaining the board has purchased homes in the past for expansion purposes, as well as a lot along Moffat.
uFocusing on aging infrastructure and problems with things like air conditioning units and leaking roofs. When asked what the number one thing the students would like to see addressed on the campus, they responded by saying they would bulldoze all of the existing bathrooms on campus and rebuild completely – a sign of years of frustration dealing with decrepit conditions exacerbated by age.
While the idea of bringing back the original tower – which has gained traction with some longtime residents and alumni – was mentioned, it wasn’t nearly as much of a priority as the Thursday night as the group of Tuesday. Instead the evening group said that they wanted to renovate the school’s aging and cramped sports facilities with something more modern.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.