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tinnin school site
The 56-acre school site Manteca Unified bought more than a decade ago for $3.7 million on Tinnin Road.

Manteca Unified purchased 56 acres on Tinnin Road more than 15 years ago for $3.7 million with the intent to build the city’s fourth high school.

Since then, however, state funding has changed and new school construction costs have skyrocketed.

That prompted THE school board that was also facing almost $600 million in needed upgrades from wear and tear, aging, and inadequate facilities for 21st century education programming at its existing campuses to rethink how they could accommodate growth.

They wanted to do so in a manner that they could avoid the possibility — for as long as possible — to have to resort to year round school or even double sessions to handle growing student enrollment.

And they needed to figure a way to provide facilities for new students relying primarily on community facilities district fees and growth fees given the dearth of state bond money available for new school construction.

That led to the decision to expand elementary campuses, where possible, to 1,200 students and high schools to 2,250 students.

The $260 million bond voters approved in 2020 for modernization included making sure the replacement of aging support facilities such as gyms, multipurpose rooms, and media centers were built to accommodate additional growth at existing campuses.

It is allowing the school district to basically add the equivalent of a fourth high school within Manteca’s city limits by ultimately bumping up facilities at East Union, Manteca, and Sierra high to accommodate 2,250 students.

Meanwhile, the 56 acres on Tinnin Road still may get a high school.
But first it will include an early education campus for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten to serve Manteca south of the 120 Bypass.

It will be built in such a manner to initially accommodate 300 students with a future expansion if needed.
The way the early education campus is being positioned, it will also allow a first through eighth grade campus to be built and even a “small” high school with an enrollment of 1,700 students.

The bottom-line is the 56 acres can accommodate 3,200 students with the three basic options.

That would be accomplished with the high school being built with 2-story budlings with separate facilities for secondary grade levels.
There would still be enough space left over to accommodate a full blown physical education and sports program for the high school.

As an added caveat, the site would be designed with an “internal” road to take traffic off of surrounding streets for student drop-off and pickup before and after school.

District Superintendent Clark Burke emphasized nothing is cast in stone.

That said, the approach the district is taking should allow it to more effectively match facilities with ultimate buildout south of the 120 Bypass while at the same time being able to react to shifting demographics that may change the household yields in terms of school-aged children.

The decision to build an early education center will also free up space at Veritas, Nile Garden, and Woodward schools to accommodate additional space for first through eighth gardeners.

That will help expand student capacity at existing neighborhood schools.

The roughly $30 million price tag to build the early education center will result in savings in two different ways.

First, it costs less to build a bunch of classrooms as opposed to small clusters at different sites.

And given the way the state reimburses for site development; the district will be able to put infrastructure in place not just for the early education center at the Tinnin site but also have it oversized to accommodate development of future schools on the property.

In other words, all of the infrastructure costs — which are an expensive part of campus development — will be eligible for reimbursement from the state after the early education center is completed in 2026.

The district would avoid incurring the cost at later date for the rest of the site when construction costs would be higher.

The approach in terms of putting an elementary school next to a high school is similar to the situation where East Union High is adjacent to Neil Hafley School.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email