Growth pressures are setting up a Manteca Unified board decision in the coming months that could increase the size of two existing elementary campuses — Lincoln and Nile Garden schools.
Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer said board action later this year is needed to allow enough time so capacity for between 1,500 and 2,000 more students can be in place within three years. That lead time is needed for design, gaining state approvals, and construction. Messer said in all likelihood based on current home construction activity a decision on the second phase of elementary capacity construction will need to be made in late 2018.
The district’s Growth Steering Committee at their August study session are scheduled to formalize the following recommendations:
uConstruct Ethel Allen Elementary School in the Mossdale Landing neighborhood in Lathrop west of Interstate 5. The school district already owns the land.
uAdd a wing of classrooms at Lincoln School and redistrict the school’s attendance areas to include areas south of the 120 Bypass.
uSignificantly expand Nile Garden School to accommodate upwards of 1,000 students.
uAdd additional classroom capacity at Manteca High.
Between $22.2 million in development fees as well as $55.4 million in Mello-Roos special taxes and bond sale receipts, the district has $67.6 million available for new construction. The new elementary campus in Lathrop is expected to run between $25 million and $30 million while the other classroom projects could easily consume up to another $10 million leaving less than $30 million for the next wave of construction to accommodate growth.
Nile Garden happens to be among the five schools included in the next phase of Measure G modernization work. The others are French Camp, George McParland, and Neil Hafley schools.
The Measure G budget for non-growth improvements at Nile Garden is estimated at $7.1 million. That money will be spent on major and deferred maintenance, health and safety, and code compliance. That work would be done in such a manner that it would place infrastructure improvements to connect seamlessly with non-Measure G work that would be done to accommodate additional students.
Lincoln School’s just completed modernization includes infrastructure stubbed off for a future classroom wing to handle growth. The state, when reviewing the Lincoln School modernization plans, gave tentative approval to eventually add more classrooms at the Powers Avenue campus.
Adding classrooms to existing elementary campuses is a cost effective way of increasing capacity. That’s because they already have big ticket items such as multi-purpose rooms, infrastructure such as water and sewer pipes, playgrounds, parking lots, and other support facilities such as libraries and offices in place. That leaves only the need to build classrooms and perhaps additional restrooms.
Forcing Manteca Unified to make a decision soon is the upswing in growth. In Manteca alone, there are now nine developers building homes with two more developers expected to start shortly. There are 1,797 single family homes and 351 apartments currently expected to be built between now and 2021. Most of the housing units will be built south of the 120 Bypass. That said, elementary schools in Lathrop are already at — or close to — capacity as housing constriction picks up in Lathrop.
Class space needs are based on specific data the district is now mining within every attendance area. At the same time, classroom needs have been established by plugging in the targeted class size reduction goal at pre-kindergarten to third grade of 24 students to be reached within three years.
Looming on the horizon is the overall number of housing that could start breaking ground soon depending upon the market and the economy. As of April 2017, Manteca currently has 5,346 single family homes and 1,664 apartments approved in the portion of the city that is within Manteca Unified boundaries. There are additional homes approved in the City of Manteca that is within the Ripon Unified School District boundaries. The City of Lathrop has approved up to 6,800 housing units as part of the Central Lathrop Pacific Plan.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org