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10-foot wall to separate Manteca High from motel
motel by MHS
Plans call for the 6-foot cyclone fence between the student parking lot and the Pacific Express Motel to be replaced with a 10-foot masonry wall.

Those dropping by Manteca High’s new front door facing Moffat Boulevard when August 2022 rolls around won’t be greeted by the sight of the back of the aging Pacific Express Motel and adjoining automotive business.

The unsightly rear end of the motel built in the 1940s when Moffat Boulevard was the old Highway 99 route serving as the southern entrance to Manteca is visible today through a 6-foot high cyclone fence bordering the student parking lot.

Plans for the $41 million modernization and upgrade, now underway at the century-old campus, call for building a 10-foot high masonry wall between the businesses facing Moffat Boulevard and the student parking lot.

The block for the wall will match that being used for the exterior of the 2,250-seat gym now being built.

The height of the fence will make the motel “invisible”.

The parking lot when it is rebuilt to accommodate a passenger drop off zone in the new front of the campus that will include the new gym, a new swimming pool and the existing Winter Gym will receive a facelift will include a driveway that will blend into the former southern section of Garfield Avenue starting at Moffat that has been renamed “Buffalo Way” by the Manteca City Council in honor of the school’s centennial year.

That driveway way will then connect with Sherman Avenue.

The site of a former motel at the corner of Sherman Avenue and Moffat Boulevard the district bought more than a decade ago with its portion of redevelopment agency money will be incorporated into the revamped parking lot. It will help make up for parking spaces being lost to the campus reconfiguration.

The expanded parking lot area will include a walled off area for the school’s dumpsters. It is not clear whether they will include the “low roofs” the city is requiring in new construction to prevent the homeless from scaling the walls and camping in the area or sleeping in dumpsters.

Some have questioned why the district doesn’t simply buy the existing motel.

While that is always a possibility down the road especially as student enrollment grows from its current 1,600 plus to the ultimate 2,250 students the addition of classrooms in the project will allow, district officials noted the priority with school bond money is to address health, safety, and modernization needs.

And while it could be justified buying the motel and demolishing it would better secure the campus district officials stressed money needs to go to the classrooms and other education programming space.

That doesn’t preclude securing appropriate funding such as fees collected on new housing to help accommodate to growth. Those fees can be used not just to add classrooms and even buses that growth create the demand for but also support facilities. The need to add more parking as school enrollment grows is likely to qualify.

Fencing is a big component of spending Measure G bond proceeds at Manteca High. Unlike the other district high schools built in the last 53 years, Manteca High grew into surrounding neighborhoods instead of neighborhoods building up around it.

As a result the campus is a challenge to secure.

It is why cyclone fencing that exists in large swaths around the campus will be replaced with wrought iron fencing. Over the years the school has had issues with people — mostly homeless — cutting holes in fences to create a short cut to areas in and around Lincoln Park where they sleep for the night or to bed down in the football stadium area.

A key element of enhancing safety was working with the city to close down the segment of Garfield Avenue from Mikesell Avenue to the student parking lot entrance.

The street literally cut the campus in two. And even though barriers were in place during school hours to prevent cars from passing through, pedestrians including the homeless could wander through.

Several years ago a homeless man walked onto campus via Garfield Avenue with a long hunting style knife strapped to his waist prompting a Manteca Police response.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email