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Manteca’s Christmas parade typically draws 7,000 plus spectators squeezed into six blocks of Yosemite Avenue through downtown Manteca.
new MHS seats
Manteca High’s Dorothy Mulvihill Performing Arts Center has new seating and flooring thanks to Measure G.

The Dorothy Mulvihill Performing Arts Center is gearing up for its second act.

The Manteca High Speech Arts Building has had Measure G bond work that includes replacing the seating, creating handicapped accessible seating, installing new carpet in the aisles and replacing the old carpet under the rows of chairs with linoleum for more efficient cleaning.

The building also has had a new roof put in place and a couple of other minor projects completed. There is still work that won’t be tackled with the $44 million in Measure M bond proceeds and fees collected from growth on the 100-year-old campus.

 Growth fees will pay for new classrooms to accommodate an ultimate student enrollment of 2,250 students. Currently the campus has around 1,700 students.

By taking the East Union and Sierra campuses up to 2,250 students as well by using funds collected on new home construction, there will essentially be a “fourth high school” created within the city limits once the additional capacity at Manteca High is tossed in the mix. That essentially avoids the need for taxpayers to build a whole new campus at a cost of $200 million while spending a fraction of the cost.

 The bond funds committed to Manteca High — once the current work underway that includes a new gym, swimming pool, and replacing aging and failing infrastructure is completed — will not be enough to address the complete list of modernization needs.

That because the campus with buildings that have an average composite age of 52 years has the largest amount of modernization needs in the district. It will require another $62 million to bring all classrooms and infrastructure up to grade due to wear and tear and functionality. The goal of Measure A — the $260 million school bond on the Nov. 3 ballot — is to make sure structures tax dollars are invested in will have at least another 50 years of useful life.

The speech arts’ building is one of the oldest on campus. So is the ag shop that in the first week of September maintenance staff addressing a reported problem peeled back roofing material and found the roof is close to failing.

And while the district is hoping to secure a state grant to build a new ag education complex at Manteca High, it still will need the space that the current sg shop provides for other programs. A new roof won’t go to waste as it will allow the district to not only continue having ag classes until such time state funding is obtained but when it is eventually repurposed it will avoid the need for costly new construction.

East Union still has $49 million worth of upgrades needed for other aging buildings on the East Union campus that includes 25 portables, gym issues, and “bone” issues behind the walls that you can’t see, among other issues that won’t be covered by Measure G work now under way. That does not include $45 million in education programming needs that includes things such as a theater and combing attendance with the administrative offices.

Manteca and East Union high schools represent the two biggest challenges the district faces as 11 of its 32 campuses are 50 years or older.

Overall there are $302.4 million in facility needs defined by age and conditions at the 21 campuses in Manteca, $69.6 million at the six campuses in Weston Ranch, $31.1 million at the four Lathrop campuses and $6.3 million at French Campo School.

The total needs that reflect significant critical components you cannot see that are underground, behind walls, or on roofs comes to $409.6 million

 Measure A, if passed by 55 percent of the voters, would generate $260 million to go toward those identified needs.

The highest priorities are the oldest campuses with the biggest needs — Manteca High and East Union High. If the two campuses had to be replicated today they would cost nearly $200 million apiece to replace.

The school bond caps the cost to property taxpayers to $45 per $100 per assessed value. That’s a far cry from March when the bond failed to reach the 55 percent threshold needed for approval. The cap was $60 per $100 at the time.

The difference is the more favorable bond market due to the pandemic as well as the district’s financial rating being considered extremely appealing when compared to most other school districts and government agencies such as cities and counties.

And given the last series of the Measure G bonds ended up costing property owners $37 instead of $60 per $100,000 in assessed evaluation, the chances are good if the bonds are approved the actual cost to homeowners and other property owners will be less than $45 per $100,000 evaluation.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email