Nile Garden School‘s $20 million makeover — when completed — will serve as a textbook example of the Manteca Unified School District drive to maximize both facility dollars and how that money is spent to offer solid educational programs.
Equally important as far as trustees and administrators are concerned, Nile Garden is being designed so that community use of its facilities can be even more robust
There are basically three projects at Nile Garden — Measure G modernization, building additional classroom space for growth paid for with development fees collected on new construction and a water line being funded in a large part by the state to provide safe drinking water at the campus.
The work being done at Nile Garden School will allow the campus to house 1,148 students.
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.
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.
It is currently one of two rural campuses in the Manteca area — the other is New Haven. 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 project involves relocating portable classrooms and site work for the new multipurpose room. As the project is designed, it will allow construction to continue when the school is in session while creating minimal disruption.
One of the biggest safety issues being addressed is a new school bus drop off area that 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.
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.
A new multipurpose room will be built 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 overhand 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.
There will be $7 million in Measure G bond funds restricted for use on health, safety, and modernization needs and $7 million in developer fees collected to provide facilities to accommodate growth invested into the Nile Garden campus in rural south Manteca southwest of Nile Avenue just west of Union Road.
In addition the State of California has earmarked $5 million toward the waterline project that also calls 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 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.
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