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Classes start Wednesday at new campus
Families and students make their way on campus during Thursdays Meet the Teachers Night at the new River islands Technology Academy campus. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Sometimes problems create a better solution.

That’s been the cry echoed at River Island Technology Academy or RiTechA, according to school officials at Thursday’s open house.

Many in attendance were wowed by the nearly completed facility located behind its old home now occupied by Banta School District’s STEM school.

“It’s beautiful,” said Katrina Adams, who was impressed with the landscape consisting of 3,000 plants and shrubs along with some 220 trees. “It looks like a park.”

She’s the parent of two kids at RiTechA including first grader Liam.

“The classrooms are ready and with brand-new technology,” said Principal Brenda Scholl, who was especially thankful to Lyn Hale and his crew from Hale Construction.

In the past three months, they worked tirelessly towards getting the campus ready for the first day of school on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Banta School District told the highly acclaimed charter school they were kicking them out of the $25 million campus that was built with a 50-50 split of state funds and River Islands contribution. By the time approval was obtained for the new location there was only three months to build it form the ground up.

Most of the 565 students who will be starting are from the Manteca Unified School District with the majority hailing from the Mossdsale area of Lathrop just north of River Islands.

Hale and his crew logged in an average of 40,000 hours during that time, working “seven days a week, 14-hour days,” Scholl said.

RiTechA is a charter school. Because of that, those involved with this project were also free of the state’s strict building standards and were able to get the job done in a timely manner. 

As for the new technology, Scholl was impressed with the interactive white board featuring StarBoard software.

“It’s all in the projector,” said Assistant Principal Michelle Crippen.

Hale and his construction team installed 27 miles of data wire to help deliver the latest technology to the campus.

They put in four miles of a drip irrigation system specifically for the landscape and efficient energy-use LED lighting throughout the school.

In order to avoid hooking up ramps to the classrooms, Hale indicated that 15,000 tons of rocks were used. Couple that with 400 6- by- 6- feet posts put in to create the trellis look.

The new mascot was also announced at the open house – the River Island Raptors.

RiTechA will have its first eighth-grade class not to mention the year-end promotional exercises that goes along with it. For students, the bigger picture down the road is the goal of attending a four-year college or university.

Scholl, meanwhile, used the event to recognize the efforts of the Hale Construction crew, the San Joaquin County Office of Education, the City of Lathrop, and the River Island Development Team.

River Island at Lathrop Project Manager Susan Dell’Osso praised Scholl for her seamless efforts during the changeover.

“We lost only four students in this transition and no teachers,” she said.

Scholl had a few concerns during construction of the new campus. Yet she never once doubted that Hale and others could get job done in time for the new school year.

“Hale and his construction crew created this new look,” she said. “They’re helped teachers carry boxes in (to the new school) and with a smile.”

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, email