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Ripon Unified OKs developing facilities master plan
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For the past five years, Ripon Unified officials had a long-range facilities master plan on their wish list.

That wish came true as the school board voted unanimously on getting the wheels in motion on developing such a plan at Monday’s special session at the district office.

“There needs to be a plan with timelines and target dates,” said Trustee Ernie Tyhurst, who indicated that certain projects tend to float around. “That timeline starts tonight.”

He and his colleague, Kit Oase, served as the architect on the process and timeline for developing a facilities master plan that could take about a year. The two successfully worked together in the Trustee Area redistricting process.

Oase and Tyhurst were recently appointed to a subcommittee to look at a new strategy of getting facility projects done in a timely manner.

RUSD is bracing itself with long- and short- range goals with the Measure G-approved modernization projects at Weston School and, later, Colony Oak schools. The process could include shuffling classroom of students to different elementary sites within the district.

The district is also anticipating future growth along Austin Road, where the City of Manteca has plans to develop more housing. This area is also part of the RUSD attendance boundary, with district officials projecting 700 to 800 more students in the future.

Oase and Tyhurst are also looking at grade configuration on the facilities master plan. Currently, the district’s elementary school sites accommodate kindergarten- through- eighth-grade students while Ripon High handles ninth- through- 12th- grade students. Couple that with the existing day school and the upcoming continuation school site.

The proposed grade configuration, according to elected leaders at their last meeting, could consists of K-5 elementary sites, 6-8 middle school, 9-12 high school, and maybe an academy. 

Tyhurst mentioned that a steering committee made of 38 active members and ad hoc committee consisting of two board members (Oase and Tyhurst) and three district support (perhaps an administrator along with personnel from support, operations and maintenance) to handle the preparation for the master facilities plan and the adoption schedule.

Aug. 1 is the deadline for accepting applicants for the steering committee. Tyhurst hopes to get a “broad based” group during the application process.

Active members sought are:

• Six parents (two each from K-5, 6-8, and RHS).

• Six teachers (two each from K-5, 6-8, and RHS, as selected by the Ripon Unified District Teachers Association).

• Four from community organizations (PALSS or the Chamber of Commerce).

• Five school-related organizations (PFC, boosters, alumni association).

• Five local government (one from the local police, one from the fire district, two from the Planning Department, and one from Parks and Recreation).

•  Three at-large (perhaps someone with a background in engineering, construction, or finances).

• Three school administrators (one from RHS and two from elementary school sites).

• Five students from RHS (student board member along with four others).

• One from the Ag Advisory Committee.

Along with the steering committee selections on Aug. 12, the board could also pick a consultant to help out with the process during this time.

“We can break up the (steering) committee into other committees,” said Oase, who added that one group, for example, could handle funding / finances while another can look at the specification for future schools.

According to Tyhurst, the heavy lifting could take place in October and November. That’s when the steering committee and the consultant would schedule five public workshops to explain the purpose of a master facilities plan.

From there, 10 meetings are planned on the adoption schedule.

If all goes accordingly, the board could adopt a resolution approving the Education Program Implementation scheduled at the Sept. 8, 2014 meeting.