Nile Garden — born as a small rural school — is about to become the key player in absorbing future students from hundreds of new homes that will be breaking ground in the southern part of the City of Manteca as the third decade of the 21st century unfolds.
The Manteca Unified School board Tuesday gave its final blessing to a $16.1 million project that is employing a mixture of Measure G bond funds to modernize the campus and address safety issues as well as development fees to build additional classroom space.
The $16.1 million campus makeover and upgrade effort is in conjunction with a $6.4 million project funded jointly by the state and City of Manteca to bring treated water to the campus. Students and staff have been supplied with bottled water for years after water well contamination was detected.
The project will get underway in earnest in the coming months with minimal disruption to the campus given the major components are all clustered on the east side of the campus.
A new school bus drop off area will be built along the eastern edge of the campus. Currently the bus drop off zone is in the area of the main parking lot. The congestion forces a number of people to drop their children off by parking across the street at the edge of an orchard along Nile Avenue that is now a narrow country road.
The drop off zone will have a bus turnaround at the end. Teacher parking will also be created on the opposite side of the drop-off zone. That will free up space in the front parking lot.
A new multipurpose room will be built along the drop-off zone replacing the existing room of 2,000 square feet that is used for everything from assemblies to lunch. It will be designed to accommodate a basketball court with a large stage area that will double as a music room. There will also be a kitchen.
In a nod to the extensive use Nile Garden School gets for community events, the restrooms are being built so during the school day they can be accessed from the inside of the multipurpose room as well as from the courtyard/playground. When a community event takes place after school the doors accessing the campus interior will be locked.
The multipurpose room faces the bus turnout allowing an overhang to be created for inclement weather. Given Nile Garden is a rural school with students bused from the countryside as well as city students in the attendance boundary that live a significant distance from the campus, the concern about inclement weather for waiting students is a nod to the fact the campus has one of the highest percentage of bused students in the district.
New kindergarten classes will be added allowing them to be clustered near their own drop off area.
Work will be done on existing classrooms to address health and safety issues as well as items that need to be modernized. Various “pull out programs” that are occupying space that could be re-purposed as classroom will be combined into a resource center with appropriately sized space. The move generates more classroom space while saving money.
Another major safety upgrade involves having the entrance to the office facing the parking lot. This means once school starts, visitors have to enter the office directly from the parking lot to check in before exiting another door onto the campus. Currently the access from the front gate does not go through the office.
The work being done at Nile Garden School will allow the campus to house 1,148 students. Due to Nile Garden’s location it is expected to absorb the lion’s share of elementary student growth within the City of Manteca portion of the school district that’s south of the 120 Bypass. It has been absorbing city growth for years as rural school-age population declined starting in the early 1990s when students at the time from new homes being built in Vintage Estates along Mission Ridge Drive were bused to the campus.
The district’s strategy of seeking to bump up elementary campus capacity where it is feasible and makes sense is part of their strategy to accommodate growth in the most cost effective way. Elementary campuses that typically can accommodate between 700 and 800 students are being positioned to handle around 1,000 students.
The strategy gets maximum use out of the most expensive components of a campus — support facilities such as a multiple purpose room. They are expensive to build as is starting a school from scratch in terms of infrastructure and land acquisition.
The water line project involves a $5 million state grant for a 10,000-gallon high-density polyurethane tank, a 270,000-gallon steel tank, two pump stations and additional campus waterlines. The City of Manteca is picking up the remaining $1.4 million cost of extending the main 12-inch waterline. The city will recoup that investment as residential growth occurs along the Union Road corridor.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com