The wish list of the East Union community has been established.
But as one Manteca Unified School Board Trustee pointed out Tuesday night while discussing the Thought Exchange survey that listed how people wanted to see Measure G modernization money spent, one thing may have been lacking from the responses that listed a desire for everything from a larger performing arts center, to a much improved pick-up and drop-off area.
Bob Wallace, the retired Escalon Unified Superintendent who ran unopposed to represent Manteca Unified’s Area 7 in 2016, asked district Chief Business Officer Jacqui Breitenbucher whether the $13 million figure and the preliminary estimates for what will be addressed in the overhaul includes the performing arts complex.
To which she replied, “no.”
The brief exchange was emblematic of the district’s struggle to figure out how to upgrade aging facilities – East Union eclipsed the half-century mark eighteen months ago – while at the same time providing the amenities that students within the growing district want to see on their campuses.
As part of the second wave of modernization efforts being undertaken by the district with the proceeds from the Measure G bond, he health and safety issues on the campus will need to be addressed first before any of the additional modernization efforts are undertaken. A breakdown of where that money will go, and far it will go, has not yet been finalized.
But the board’s priorities, according to the district Master Facilities Plan, places health and safety issues – things like fire alarms, surveillance systems, draining issues and failing asphalt – at the top of the list.
Major and deferred maintenance – repairs of building systems, dry rot, fencing, roofing, bells and alarms, etc. – are also included as a priority, as are modernization and upgrades that would include remodeling, updating, removing old and unnecessary buildings and the replacement of aging facilities including playfields, parking, storage and shade structures.
The district currently has almost $580 million worth of projects included in the Master Facilities Plan, with the largest chunk — $210 million – being new construction, followed by nearly $195 million worth of major and deferred maintenance. A total of $92,653,346 is listed, according to the staff report, in the modernization and upgrades category.
But even if the $13 million isn’t enough to pay for some of the desired amenities – the district will also add an additional $1.1 million in construction thanks to a Career and Technical Education grant at the same time – there may be other money available to help provide those during the building phase.
According to Superintendent Jason Messer, there are some existing Mello-Roos funds that could be incorporated into the overall project, as well as development fees that could be pulled in.
Major issues pinpointed by the survey completed by parents and students included:
uThe need to rebuild the agricultural building that is viewed as a safety hazard.
uA more efficient drop off area so that students can get safety onto campus without creating a traffic jam.
uA renewed focus on campus safety since the existing layout is too open and accessible to outsiders.
uThe need for new locker rooms, restrooms and drinking fountains – fueled by complaints that some toilets don’t function, and those that do occasionally back up and spill over onto the floor.
One idea that was submitted, to build two-story classroom buildings to centralize the campus, could end up making East Union the second comprehensive high school in the district with multi-level buildings if the decision is made to go that direction with Manteca High School.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.