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East Union High project addresses parents’ concerns
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The jumble of cars and pedestrians along Northgate Drive where many parents drop off and pick up their sons and daughters that attend East Union High will largely disappear as part of a $14 million campus upgrade.

A new campus entry for vehicles planned between the tennis courts and athletic fields will allow buses and parents driving students to school to access a drop off zone near the gym. It will consist of one entry lane and two exit lanes — one for a left turn and one for a right turn — to minimize traffic congestion. The new entry road will connect with the eastern end of the parking lot where it meets the main gym.

“It is something we added after we received feedback from parents,” noted Aaron Bowers, Manteca Unified Director of Facilities & Operations.

The entry will be near an existing crosswalk and nearly aligns with Junewood Place.

Bowers said the school district and city have been working together to address lighting at the crosswalk and near the proposed new campus access for vehicles to make it as safe as possible for students crossing Northgate Drive.

Before and after school Northgate Drive becomes congested as parents trying to pull in and out of traffic from parking spaces conflict with through traffic. By creating a drop off zone near the gym that conflict will be largely eliminated.

Last school year two students were injured in separate incidents when they were struck in the Northgate crosswalk and the Union Road crosswalk.

The school district will also be reworking the student parking lot accessed via Lancer Way that aligns with Sprague Street at the Union Road traffic signal.

Bowers said the district plans to make the exit queue longer to allow for better traffic movement.

“It is way too short right now,” Bowers said.                       

In addition the student parking lot will be reconfigured for better circulation.

Plans for upgrades at the 53-year-old campus are being reviewed by the state architect’s office. Manteca Unified expects to get clearance in time for work to start in June,

 The board has earmarked $13 million in Measure G bond funds for health, safety, and modernization. It is being wedded with a $1.1 million Career and Technical Education grant from the state that is allowing construction of the new ag education complex.

The student parking lot revisions, modernization of the agricultural building, and construction of 7,500 square feet for a new metal shop and associated classrooms is part of the first phase.

Other work being done includes a new campus fire alarm system; campus-wide classroom improvements; campus-wide American with Disabilities access improvements; and theater heating and air, flooring, and electrical upgrades.

There have been at least $40 million in needs identified at East Union but the district has only $14 million at the present time to address them.

The schematic for the campus also calls for staging for future upgrades and planning for classrooms to ultimately take the campus enrollment to 2,200 including:

*future athletic core north of the tennis courts.

*future building in the grassy area in front of the administration complex.

*future classroom building on the north side of the campus between the ag center and student parking.

*future student plaza.

*future consolidation of administration and student services.
*future library.

East Union, just like Manteca and Sierra, is targeted to have their capacities increased to 2,200 students. Based on today’s enrollments at the three campuses such a strategy would effectively add the equivalent of a fourth high school within the city limits of Manteca.

The strategy is designed to leverage maximum effectiveness from limited funding sources to build classrooms and support facilities to accommodate growth.

One funding source — state money for new school construction — has already been cut off for schools throughout California.

A new school to serve 1,800 students would cost $120 million to $140 million to build. The board’s strategy is designed to assure all three existing high schools within the Manteca city limits will ultimately absorb growth as a whole instead of it being concentrated with additions to one particular campus.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email