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Students signing beam for new EU classroom building
EU classroom work
Photo courtesy of Aaron Bowers The steel superstructure is now going up for two-story East Union High classroom building along Union Road being made possible by the $260 million Measure A bond.

East Union High students today and Monday will have the opportunity to sign a steel beam that will be put in place as part of the $49 million two-story classroom structure now under construction.

The State of California has committed $28.6 million toward the 26 classroom project that includes a new media center.

That’s because it meets criteria for state bond money authorized by California voters to replace aging, inadequate, and problematic classrooms.

In the case of East Union, it includes 29 portable classrooms that are almost two decades past their rated 20-year life expectancy.

The odds are Manteca Unified may not see a dime of the state’s $28.6 million for the EU classroom project for seven years or longer.

That is how long it took the state to send MUSD its share of modernization projects at Golden West, Lathrop Elementary, Lincoln, Shasta, and Lincoln schools made possible by the $159 million Measure G bond passed in 2014.

As such, it reflects the reality that the so-called “three-legged stool” of how school modernization and new school construction are financed is weakened considerably by the state’s ability to deliver on its commitment that is crucial for funding projects.

The other two legs are community facilities districts and school growth fees collected when building permits are issued.

The state has sent $22.7 million to MUSD for its share of the Measure G work at the five previous mentioned elementary schools.

The district is still waiting for reimbursement from the state from additional Measure G endeavors totaling $22 million.

If the district had waited for the state money in hand before awarding a construction contract, the work at Lincoln School, as an example, would not have been completed in 2016.

 Based on when the MUSD received state funds, the Lincoln School upgrades would just now be under construction and not ready for use until the 2024-2025 school year.

That long of a delay would have added significantly to construction costs.

It also would have meant thousands of students would not have benefitted from upgraded and new facilities at the Lincoln School campus.

And to leverage the most money to address as many needs as possible, Manteca Unified has made sure that local bond projects that qualify for state bond funds are built first.

The reason that is critical is simple.

When voters in 2020 passed the current $260 million Measure A bonds, the district had identified close to $600 million in needed modernization and upgrades as well as facility deficiencies  when it came to the ability of existing facilities to provide optimum education programming.

“The state will help pay for classrooms but not gyms,” said Aaron Bowers, Manteca Unified’s director of facilities.

It is why the East Union classroom project went ahead of the new secondary gym that is planned at the 57 year-old campus.

That means the $28.6 million the district will eventually receive will make other projects such as the gym feasible.

The new classroom building is targeted for completion in August 2025.

The current Measure A work — part of an overall $65 million undertaking at East Union and Manteca high schools — will also include building  a new small gym at the North Union Road campus as well as a new weight room and indoor PE facility that will also accommodate aerobics and wrestling.

For roughly three years, East Union will have three gyms before the district is ready to demolish the existing small gym.

 The modernization, undertaken at the direction of the Manteca Unified school District board, was done in a fashion that can allow the adding of additional classrooms to take the campus to an “education program” capacity of 2,200 students.

That is also the ideal maximum enrollment level the district is working toward for Sierra, Lathrop, and Manteca high schools as the district works toward accommodating growth in both communities.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email