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Bond, state grant help pay for $5M ag mechanic building at East Union
Alyssa De Barros and Aiden Berchtold left their signatures on the final beam of the CTE Building.

It was a signature moment Tuesday for the East Union High Ag Department.

The new Career Technology Education building is part of the school’s modernization efforts, which, according to East Union Principal Raul Mora, was a long time in the making.

“We’ve had many meetings and wrote letters over the years,” he said at the special topping-off ceremony for the currently-under-construction Ag Mechanic building made possible by Measure G – the voter-approved bond measure accounted for $5 million of the comprehensive modernization Ag Department project – and a CTE incentive grant ($1.6 million).

Director of Facilities & Operations Aaron Bowers indicated that MUSD also applied for an additional funding ($3 million) at the state level.

Ag students along with alumni, school and district officials, and members of the ag community were in attendance at the special event held at the construction site for the CTE building.  They all took turns signing the beam, which was the last supporting part of the new building.

“This feels really special to know that a part of me will be in this building,” said sophomore Alissa De Barros, who is involved in both Ag Leadership and Ag Biology.

Junior Aiden Berchtold, who is a TA in Ag Biology, shared in the experience.

“It’s great knowing that it was our EU chapter which made way for the next wave (of Ag students) to come,” he said. 

Once completed, the Ag Mechanic building – part of Phase I of the East Union High Modernization – will accommodate metal shop, two classrooms, restrooms and a green house. Completion is estimated for August 2020.

“Ag is important to Manteca Unified,” said Senior Director of Secondary Education Clara Schmiedt. “East Union is a shining star.”

LDA Partners Principal Architect Eric Wohle is spearheading the project. He’s a 1991 graduate of East Union – his father, Rick Wohle, worked for MUSD, serving as Director of Secondary Educational Services years ago – and is thrilled to be part of the school modernization.

“This is cool experience,” he said. “For me, it’s about giving back to the school and making it a better place.”

Mora noted that many throughout the district made possible the Ag Center and CTE at East Union, crediting Kathy Ruble in the district office for being the key to facilitating the grants.

He also acknowledged the Ag teachers and community for their input of the project.

In addition, the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association recently recognized EU as Outstanding Chapter (Large Schools) and Ag teacher Kristin Buck as Teacher of Excellence (Large Schools).